It Used to Be

I wrote this poem last week after reading Seth Haines’ beautiful blog post about the ephemerality of childhood. When I told Brad I’d written this piece, he said, “Since when do you write poetry?” Yeah, exactly. Since never. I haven’t written a poem since my undergraduate creative writing class back in 1994, but something came over me when I read Seth’s post, and I put my fingers on the keyboard and this is what came out.

I know what you might be thinking: last week the most controversial blog post ever, this week nostalgic poetry… what is happening to her?! Not really sure…but I’m going with it – though I have to say, I doubt very much I’ll be making a habit of writing poetry here.

Thanks for bearing with my sentimental trip down memory lane.

Rowan, first day of kindergarten (he’s in fourth grade now, and no longer likes me to wait, waving, at the end of the sidewalk)


It Used to Be

It used to be
on the coldest days
I was the only mother left,
the others already slid behind steering wheels,
holding stiff fingers against dashboard vents
peeling off knit
smoothing static hair.

I’d wait alone at the end of the sidewalk
watching his retreating backpack
flash of orange curls
bobbing step.

He’d turn first at the double doors, wave,
dip inside.
Turn toward me again at the bottom of the stairs
royal blue mitten
a Lady Liberty torch held high above a herd of jostling hats.

I’d crouch low then, knees nearly touching cement
February gusting at my back
waiting for him to turn once more
at the top of the stairs
flinging out a hand
craning to catch a final glimpse

Of me
one palm on cold pavement
the other raised
head angled just so
to catch the final glimpse of him
rounding the corner
at the top of the stairs
still waving.

Grass Path Prairie edited

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