“More and more I find that life is a series of disappearances,” —Russell Hoban, “Fremder”
Her skin, as soft as air on a windless day,
no, not like that. Like rose petals, perhaps,
or no, it’s like, it’s like her skin.
And I’m trying to commit it to heart today
as she sits in my lap, still dream-wet
and drowsy from her nap, her spine
relaxed into the place where not so long ago
she twirled inside, a kicking thing, a mystery,
a child so loved even before she had a name.
I notice the way the house plant makes a serrated
shadow on the floor and try to memorize that, too,
try to remember the way the sun is entering
the room aslant, how warm I am, how blue
the cloudless sky. Not like her eyes, which still
don’t know what color they will be—gray one day
and then green the next, then bluish like her dad’s.
So much can change. And so much will.
But on this Thursday afternoon, she fits
so wholly on my lap, her tiny toes, her
sleep-laced breath, her ankles crossed,
her open hand, her skin so very smooth.