how could I have known
when i pulled you to me--
shaky as i was with that last effort--
that i had given birth to such a friend.
we were strangers,
your heart caught at all of me. and i was gone.
you have this way
of gazing off toward the sky
and the look on your face has
the very same wedge of longing and joy
i often feel in my own heart,
when the evening blue slips over the sky
or a flock of birds rises
or the branches of a tree shudder with happiness.
i am growing older as we speak
my face surprising to me in the mirror
and you surprise me in a different way,
no more roundness to your cheeks
as your bones show us who you will be.
growth like a sudden crash,
an outburst of shouting,
that flock of birds.
strength, is what i want for you
and hands that race across your pages,
you the master of your land,
your thoughts, your paper.
and i think, as i come across you
in the tree with your book again,
that you will have these things,
that i couldn't wish them for you any more
than they have been written for you,
in the heart of who you are.
(I read this poem at a spoken word evening in my town, and just after I read it, my friend Jay told me that she had taken a photo of the very look I talked about in my poem. So this photo comes from Jay.)