Featured in Mamalode magazine, Issue no. 21
First Person Present
I try so hard to live in the present while
raising her, to be fully there as we are
dancing around the kitchen, her arms
wrapped around my neck, celebrating her
graduation from a toddler class she hated
4/5ths of the time. I blast a pop song
about doing things you might hate
4/5ths of the time but doing them anyway.
We sing along together. I dip her.
“You hold me tight,” she says.
“I promise,” I say. “I will always hold you tight.”
She sighs, puts her cheek next to mine, says
”Cheek to cheek.” And just like that,
I’m leaving the present, moving into
a past perfect tense of my life, nostalgic
for moments still taking place. Then
I time-travel to the past, before she was here -
how did we live without her? -
then the future continuous, when she
won’t be dancing with me anymore.
Suddenly, I’m watching from the outside,
third person, through the lit window:
a mother dances cheek to cheek with her
sometimes shy, sometimes bold child
and I am already missing
her sticky hands,
the soaring melody,
and the sound of her singing along.
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