I look back through Novemember’s
just-hanging-on leaves, the negative space
of our promises to drive through Malabar’s
winding road, taking in October’s blasts of color.
The weeks have whipped by, the leaves ignoring my
requests to stay, to never fall away, and my melancholy
drips bitter without the sweet.
Then I see our love’s first fruits hanging
on you, lying on you like so many apples,
our children’s morning sweetness, their bodies’
hard softness, wild hair, pokey elbows,
squishy bellies and meaty feet. They grow
unconditionally from our branches, buds,
and blossoms. They grow their own stems and leaves
and seeds and develop their own autumn flavors.
We drop away when we are ripe
thankful for what we are
what we have
and what we miss.
It’s God’s work.
I don’t know what I’m doing.
They thrive, and the sun shines
through the windows
of my striving.
As if their bedrooms hung with vines all around
they sleep and dream of fun and frightful things,
nestled in blankets of soft straw and grasses,
bedding made of cozy sticks and silent leaves.
As if they were little wild things in their caves
they wake and stretch their jaws with long yawns,
their round faces plump with sleep,
flush with warmth, shiny with rest.
As if all the hope in the world pours from their young hearts,
swells in their squeaky voices, surges through their bright pajamas,
through their cuddly arms and furry paws
wraps itself around you,
your own heart singing hopeful with that same young hope,
even as they cover you in soft and fierce kisses,
even as you know how they will grow and soar,
how they will stumble and slide, how they will flourish and fly,
as if they could never leave empty bedrooms behind.