posted November 29, 2023

It is like this: my first memory, dancing in the center 
Of the aunts and uncles, everyone laughing, clapping
My parents beaming their twinned suns onto me
Bathing me with gold.

My second memory: shivering in the center of a playpen
The dogs circling round, their wet teeth, shiny eyes,
Downstairs the new baby breastfeeds at the dining room table
The sounds of the grownups laughing, far away,

A photo I kept, framed, on my writing desk for decades
So faded now, my baby features are almost a blank.
My young parents gazing up at their little god
This is where it all started, too, this tumble

Because look at my father’s arms. Already he’s buckling
Under the weight of the child. He won’t be able
To hold me this high forever. Look at my mother’s 
Smile. She can’t possibly hold that much joy in her face

Who needs to hold me this high? 
Do I want to be held this high?

I get to work on the photo, anyway.
I know little about digital anything,
And still, my digit moves across the icons
On the phone, and suddenly the image sharpens

Darkens, and again, I have eyes, we all have
Eyebrows again. My mother’s sweater is blue.
My father is turned, slightly, in conversation with the photographer, and 
Yes, his arms might be tired. But

I see that I was wrong: my mother and I have locked eyes, 
our joy perfect and eternal, as if at the concluding steps of a spell
So ancient, so essential that nothing, not even death can erase it.

This is poem #28 out of my 30 poems, and I would so so so so appreciate it if you would support the amazing organization and community at Center for New Americans. Why? Because they are a non-profit adult education center that provides the under-served immigrant, refugee and migrant communities of Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley with education and resources to learn English, become involved community members and obtain tools necessary to maintain economic independence and stability. Because love your neighbor as yourself. Because we are all neighbors. Please support my efforts by contributing to this wonderful organization via my pledge page.

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