First Loves

No one sees the fuel that feeds you.
Naomi Shihab Nye, “Fuel”

All day Vivian chirps the names
of the people she loves. Mommy.

Daddy. Finny. Me! Nana. Papa.
Maaaaahhhmmmaaaa! Daddy! Finny!

It’s as if the syllables give her a
perch, or perhaps a place to land.

All day, I repeat after her as she
chants and the familiar names flutter

between us in the air. Soon enough
they will turn into beautiful secrets

she will keep under her tongue.
Soon enough they will be her

hidden ravens, her dawn chorus
that sings the world into light,

the melodies that will move
her, the score that only she can hear.


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