Thursday, November 03, 2005


My oldest just turned eleven, but I still remember what it was like ten years ago, when he turned one. It's true what they say: time passes so fast - better enjoy them while they are young. And yes, I know how difficult that can be when the kids are sick and you are sleep-deprived and have company coming for the weekend. But still....

First Birthday

Soon you’ll take your place in the center
surrounded by aunts and grandmothers, cousins and friends,
sit in the old oak high chair, well-worn
by your father and his father, see a candle flicker,
hear a song, taste the chocolate swirls of icing
on the cake I’ve baked just for you.

But now you’re sleeping, oblivious
to the decorations, the gifts so carefully chosen
and wrapped, the plates of tiny crustless sandwiches,
the punch bowl that’s been garnished with handpicked berries.

You’re sleeping,
breathing the short shallow breaths of dreamers,
your legs tucked tight under your body,
back a turtle’s shell, and in your dimpled fist
the blue silken edge of the blanket
I swaddled you in the day you were born.

I must wake you for the party.
I hum softly, stroke your face, then pull
you to a breast that has little milk left for you.
Your eyelids flutter, not quite opening,
and as you latch on you reach your hand to my mouth,
as you have always done, and I kiss each finger.
This is the part I hope you’ll remember.

-Irene Latham


Blogger J.B. Rowell said...

Your poem brought actual tears. Mine are just 3 and 6, but 1 seems so long ago. My husband enjoyed it too. I love the back a turtle shell, and especially hoping that this is what they remember. I'm off to the mountains for the writing conference today. I'll be missing what the rest of the family is doing with my mom and dad: apple orchard, hay ride, hiking. I feel simultaneously left out, guilty, and happy they will have so much fun while I do something for myself.

6:24 AM, November 04, 2005  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home