Four Years Old (poem)

for Alison


A doctor’s visit can be healing,
But not as instantaneously as mummy’s magic fairy dust.
The beating of a butterfly’s wings entertains you for hours.

You don’t need any help, and yet you need me,
Your head slots so perfectly into the hollow beneath my ribcage.
Your soft hands always so busy, so dirty
Creative delicious mud pies or digging for buried treasure.

Your lips purse together into invisibility when you’re looking for something,
Hands behind your back, swaying to and fro, grabbing at my heartstrings.

Every night, you sit, pen in hand, practicing your letters,
You tell me that you want to learn. Well, you are also my teacher,
As I am yours.

You teach me that time is sand slipping through my fingers,
You teach me that what I am is all you want, that perfection in your eyes, is me.
You teach me that sometimes you need to make time to pick dandelions out of the grass.

We both know that you will never be four years old again,
And that one day you will tower over me with a mischievous smile,
But still I will hold you and rock you like a baby,
My daughter, my Alison, my world and my life.


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