light the path

by sophie

another new poem at Revolver

thinking about love, because valentine’s day is tomorrow, and a friend once told me that i am my best self when i’m around children. i’ll always remember that. unbridled love, the kind of love i prefer, is perhaps most needed by children. i was a nanny for years, and can’t even begin to say how actively i loved the kids that i took care of, how i miss them. perhaps ‘care’ is important here, the care in making quesadillas with the tortillas folded the way they liked, the care in cutting out paper dolls, in re-filling a glass of milk or juice or lemonade, the care in making sure they brushed their teeth, the care of carrying that diaper bag everywhere for a trip to the park — the smoothness I learned, how to keep them comfortable –, the care in always having juice boxes in the car, in running around and around and around the house for tag, the care in water balloons, in carrying their art projects home from school, in checking that their t-shirts weren’t on inside out, in holding hands to cross the street, in reminding them to apologize, to say thank you, the care in dance parties, the oddest questions encouraged, the pleasure of spoiling them with special treats, with pizza bagels, the pleasure in taking them to the museum or the zoo or the aviary or the science center for the millionth time. the pleasure of knowing their habits, of watching them suddenly, astonishingly, be able to read; their funny stories, how gentle they were with each other, with me, with their animals.  the care in staying up all night to make paper mache dragons for them to paint. the care in instinct – catching one as he was about to fall, or the way something in me learned exactly how to pick them up, to make them feel better, to calm, to quiet, to lay in bed with them and read the right story in the right way until they fell asleep. the care in closing the door quietly, so as not to wake them.

i hope that all of you have someone or something to love ferociously and entirely and honestly and simply.

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