Toddler, pigtails loosening,
hides behind her mother’s legs,
two tiny hands around one adult knee.
Mother leans down,
whispers in her daughter’s ear.
tilts her head to one side,
I, too, know what I would say to a shy child,
given the chance.
My mother’s mother
gone, an aunt
in the kitchen
rearranging the cupboard.
Lineage of women
and their cupboards.
My grandmother’s Christmas tree pin,
one aunt’s tea cups,
another aunt’s wristwatch,
my mother’s ceramic boxes,
and what will I leave?
eight weeks old
For years, I looked
for you around corners, between
small hours of morning.
And now, here you are in my arms,
limbs sodden with sleep.
You weigh less awake,
head bobbing, as you push your legs
against my lap, hands against my chest,
to look behind me,
out the window –
towards the sunshine.
Chloe Yelena Miller is a writer based in Washington, D.C. She teaches writing at the University of Maryland Global Campus and Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C., as well as privately. Her debut book, Viable, is forthcoming in 2021 from Lily Poetry Review Books. She blogs at chloeyelenamiller.com and tweets at @ChloeYMiller.
Image by Moyan Brenn from Italy – Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40605004