InTheBranches

We worry,
in fact it brings tears
right to the eyes
this nagging feeling
that these small lives
don’t matter

we know their small lives do
with their bellies needing food and their
potty accidents, their little hearts
and eyes crying out,
see me, and i need

the ones with the four legs have theirs, too,
of walks and meals
and play and affection
but what do we do with dreams
that don’t fit in the sink and washing machine,
or paw or even the little hand,
those that press and stir and shake when your
one stretched life feels
so small?

sure i’ve got dreams, she says,
but what good do those do me when this
(all this good and all this need and all this them)
is my life?
dreams feel more like pathetic fantasy than
anything real,
and the tears and snot fall hard onto the kitchen rug
as she says this,
and she braces herself at the sink,
and she’s opened clear up to it again

when she’s wiped her face and opened
the screen door,
her daughter asks what she’s been crying about
because they know these things,
and she answers,
oh, just life stuff, and the woman hates the words
as they leave her mouth,
but what do you say to a girl about dreams that
feel impossible to pick up again,
once you’ve laid them down?
what will she think when she knows too much about limitations and not
the joy of endless possibilities?

all week this woman thinks about smallness,
this one tiny life and how the hemming in
can bring focus right along with claustrophobic aches,
because there’s all the thanks and the praise and
the glimmer of light and
the flashes of toothy-ness
and the laying low to
pick up again

___

on a warm day in the park, the grass stretches
on every side,
the monkey bars and tire swings, all these options,
and they want this one tree
shaped like a brambly cup

they wear flip flops and too-fancy sandals,
but it doesn’t matter as they stretch across branches
and slide on back sides
and reach for another limb and clamber down and back up,
and they are not bound
as they free dangle from this
one tree

of all in this park, here’s what they choose,
and their faces scream full joy,
alive, alive, i’m alive!
as fingers grip smooth bark
and a shoe falls again from her foot

Linking with Jennifer and Emily.

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