I couldn’t have imagined
when you emerged
after that long labor, furrowed brow
and heavenly chunks and
soft breath against my chest
that we’d be here
drawing to the end of this
chapter, but I see the days fluttering
by like pages in the fan’s

And I want to yell out,
Stop growing, and so I do but not
scary voiced, more in that mama
way when I say what’s true,
but with a big smile and a deep swaying side to side.

Just don’t get any bigger, I say.
Stop growing. You smile big then,
No I won’t stop, no I won’t
you sing-song.

Here we are, counting days, and they
are drops in this cup of all these years,
you and your sisters,
twelve and a half of them with a little one
or more in my arms, around my ankles, standing by
my side at the kitchen sink,
holding my hand on autumn’s daytime walks.

In a little over a month you my sweet pea,
whose name and very heart means clear and bright,
will start kindergarten.
You will sit in a classroom and gaze admiringly
at your teacher,
and play with friends of your own in the field,
and this time of my life will finish,
though I know what they say about the end
of one thing marking
the beginning of another. Of course we continue together.

I think about all this as I recall your sweet breath on my neck
and the way you reached around my middle last night,
head at my chest,
squeezing me as hard as you could and listening
to how the words came out.


(At top is Mama and Her Birdies paper collage, imagined and designed by my mama and me, constructed by her creative and most able hands. Done in anticipation of my youngest’s arrival in 2008. It still hangs in her nursery, which is now my writing space.)

Joining with Lisa-Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday and the prompt: FINISH. Lisa-Jo announced that she is drawing to her own “finish” as the leader and head cheerleader of this wild and free writing community. Next week, she will be passing the Five Minute Friday baton to Kate Motaung, and we will be cheering them both on.

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