Day 100: Message

“I think I missed a message in my dreams,”
Says my daughter, smelling of lavender lotion
And dandruff shampoo.
She looks around her bedroom as if
The lost wisdom will appear like a cat
Sleeping under her desk.
The Solomon Islands, Indonesia, and Guam
Scatter across the wallpaper map of the world
Above her resting head.
Where will you go, my sweet?
Her eyes close, another day gone,
Another page dog-eared
To be taken up again tomorrow.
The message will come for you, honey girl.
You will hold it in your palm,
Call it by name, and swallow it whole.

Day 37: Birthday

My sweet baby, there should be no tears on your birthday. You should have only presents, smiles from your friends, and notes of love that remind you of everything wonderful growing another year older means.

I lean over you, holding your cold hand in mine, and your sobs break my heart. I feel your world-weariness, even as young as you are, heavy like a stone in your chest. Growing up means a driver’s permit, freedom, independence. It also means showing a face to the world that has swallowed its tears, at the head of its own table, licking the icing.

Day 35: Shoebox

I helped my daughter clean out her bedroom closet today.

We cooed over old Halloween costumes and counted seven crocheted baby blankets. I found a pair of angel wings, the kind made of wire and white pantyhose. She put them on, along with the gold mortarboard she wore for her graduation from kindergarten. Our dog ate some feathers from a pink boa, and I cleaned out purses with goldfish crackers hidden in their pockets.

I opened a small orange box, and inside was a pair of leather infant shoes. “I’m keeping those,” she said, and put them on her bookshelf.

Day 18: Teacher

My first grade teacher had blonde hair in the front and brown in the back, with a middle part and Farrah wings. She often wore brown plaid bell-bottoms and a cream-colored blouse.

She chose me as her helper, clapping erasers or distributing papers. I was a good reader and listener, but, looking back, I suspect she could see how desperately I needed to please adults.

She’s likely gone now. A Google search returned nothing, since I don’t remember her first name. I’m thinking of her today, appreciating her and the dozen other women who raised me outside of my home.