where childhood begins

when the last soother went missing
she pouted her lips as if looking for the words
to describe her first sense of loss

at night she flailed against her blankets
a poor substitute for that old comfort,
arms, legs over throwing again, again

I stepped over the silhouette of toys lined up
by her small bed
Red Bear, a book, a soft purse filled with paper, jewels,
a small wooden spoon, pink pail - it’s handle bent

I detected the slight rise and fall of her sleep,
the curve of her spine
the spread of her hair on the pillow that spells her name

her voice, her arms then still
I covered her up
her hands folded
against the crocheted wool
mouth an empty ‘O’


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