My fourth Child

We never knew you hiding there – stars and impossible distances, the hum of voices, the rolling wash of the ocean you swam in – though we knew you were there riding time’s shush-shush into being, its gentle nudge at you, wet seal nose playful, insistent even at the edge of the precipice that swallowed you; it might have winked, old pup time and rushed you forward as it dived with you. We never saw the swell – but stood on rocks, salt crusting our skin and pointed at the horizon, a long thin line dipping disappearing with the waves; reached out, we did to imagine what might be drawn there – had hardly begun to imagine your tiny feet, chin tucked tight against your breast, little robin heart beating, perfect fists held tight against the constriction you had not yet imagined. How small the world is, how contained. We keep bumping into walls we had hoped might fall away; we have kept distances at bay and courted them while lights winked on and out and lovers like us fell down to pray or reach up and out certain that what they held was what they had intended to grasp.

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