Your small self slips under my covers
at 3 a.m.
grazes a sleep-shrouded kiss on my cheek,
barely a breeze,
whispers I love you
before falling back into deep sleep.
I used to lean in close,
when you were barely bigger than a shoe box,
holding my own breath to listen, keeping vigil during darkness,
making sure that the hole in your heart
had not swallowed your wind —
not sure how to pray or
to pray to —
but silently whimpering
I’ve never known such
When broken, the large of the shell is
a magnet for the small shards of itself,
yearning for the essence of
now separate but still belonging.
The cord between me and you was short,
the delivery nurse said,
making your separation from me traumatic.
Even within I held you tight
but now learn and relearn that what I receive
I must also release.
Let me go, Mama, you’ll say to me later this day
when I hug you too tight after learning that
barely older than you,
and six women warriors who fought for them,
were gunned down in their classrooms.
There are no words for this.
liked to ride horses and had asked Santa for cowgirl boots.
wanted to be an architect and a paleontologist when he grew up.
had convinced her mom to let her wear the pink dress
that was supposed to be saved for Christmas.
She was going to be an angel
in the nativity play that weekend.
We don’t yet know how we will weep
as we study their bright eyes and impish grins.
How their parents will never wake
to shudder and shake off
But before that darkness corrodes our world
you will rise to the dawn of this day,
fill your backpack with small love notes
you’ve drawn for your kindergarten friends.
And when you open the door you will see that
shimmering white flurries have dusted the ground
and you’ll call out,
“Mama! The world has been frosted!
Come taste it!”
— Amy Rawe 12.14.12