Little Girl

After a day like today
of wrestling with your curls,
washing paint from your shirt
and dirt from your hair

After a day like today:
a two-bath day of noise,
tears and no, muffin crumbs,
a nap truncated by the runs—

is the perfect day
to remember you just so:
standing on a hearth,
belting My Funny Valentine

in toddler lisp
as a party crowd smiled
in hushed bliss

or the way you dance
like your body is wind,
and smile like your face
is a broken urn
spilling sunlight

little miracle
of braids and curls
and storms and tantrums:
little girl—

the way you pick
at cake like an epicure,
commenting on each crumb
and ripple;
or search for the moon
behind a cloud

or sob at the thought
of hurting a cow,
or at your face in the mirror,
“I look like a mask!”
after an experiment
in self-adornment—

the way you sigh
and enfold each bear
in its own tiny womb;
“Shhh, they’re tired,”
and sleep with no blanket
at the foot of the bed

or croon
Charlotte Gainsbourg
in the back seat of the car,
“I’m dead,
and I’m perfectly content,”
in the cheeriest
of copped French accents—

little worry,
little love
I cannot always find
the place in me
that speaks to you
as the soul you are—

that understands all
you bring
that knows you are wealth,
you are starlight

little teacher, you are patient
and I am old.
We chose each other:
let’s stay this way.

On a day like today,
let me hold you
and smell your dusty hair,
remembering the day
you came into this world:

small as a star,
fragile as pink dawn—
universes breathing
from the orb of your open lips.

© Psyche Marks 2007

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