I watched you grow for nearly a year,
three hundred fifty-seven days to be exact
from conception, stretching, then growing,
then stretching again, showing yourself more
and more with each iteration.
Your birth brought warm hugs and toothy grins
from your new family and I, from a distance, watched
for signs of your distress, quietly
moving amid the happy laughter, hoping
to go unnoticed as I cradled you,
and calmed your cries.
One hundred-forty people, more, or less, saw
your first steps forward, offering oohs
and aahs while I weaved quickly out in front,
and then behind, removing obstacles, ready
for your first tear-inducing tumble.
In three days time, the family left, raining joyful tears
in appreciation of you, their souls filled with love and pain,
a deep, achy sadness from leaving you to blossom,
in their absence, another year, maybe two,
before returning to see how you have grown,
and stretched, and grown again.
We waved good-bye, you and me, before
I tucked you into rest, for a while,
to dream of courage and creativity, brimming-over
in future lives, and all because your first breath,
your tiny, tiny, breath did everything, or maybe just enough,
to bring the family together.
As I left you to rest, I stopped to look at you again,
and in the dark silence I knew, my heart
had seen your heart, too, in stolen glances
through those unknown fractures your birth
created in my soul, as the beauty
of your existence caused my distraction.
I turned out the light and walked away, leaving
you to dream, to become what you need to become,
while I watch quietly, for a year, not two, for you
to stretch, and grow, and stretch again, just enough,
to turn on the light, open the door,
and tell me it’s time to begin, again.
© 2013, David L. Harkins
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