He is one year old
and already you know
motherhood is a series of leavetakings,
small deaths embodied in this
There is no place for grief
no way to grasp this loss
embedded in a gain.
For like a stream whose flow cannot be subdivided
his is a seamless transmutation.
There are no thresholds you can stand upon to say
he stopped being this & became that.
It is only in the looking back
that you perceive the skin upon skin he's carelessly shed
and left in a trail behind.
It is then you want to gather them up every one
rebreathe into them shape & vigor.
You ask yourself: to have him now
why must I give the others up?
The four-week-old who suckled, mouth
pressed to flesh he thought
was still his flesh.
The three month old who smiled & aahhhhh
peacock head craning to gulp the world.
The six month old sitting triumphant
all grasp & pull & shake shake shake.
You were never told it would feel like this:
imprint still fresh on your skin,
when that which you hold to you
you cannot hold
Even now he races forward,
his drunken steps growing steadier as you watch
And though you want to cry: Stop!
Must I give him up again?
You must submit.
It is the way of things.
And the best you can do,
the only thing,
is to be here now
as he becomes and becomes