napowrimo day 26

by larapayne

Touch

I have grown used to
the barely lucid. Comfortable
with touch over talk, I try
to hold my grandmother’s hand,
or press her calf, or scratch
her back. I imagine she is touched often,
by nurses and aides, but what
of love? What of the caress of someone
who wants to be near you solely
because they love you? Lately,
I grow overwhelmed by how often
I am caressed, tasted and hit, all
by my one and four year old.

By the end of the day I won’t even
let the cat come near me: I am done,
ready to become autonomous
for just an hour. There are days
I crave solitude and silence
the way some tell me they crave
drink or drugs. I am told to enjoy it,
this time. I am warned of what is coming,
years in which my children will squirm
from hugs, and then decades of barely
a quick kiss. I try, I really do, to savor
even the fifth tackling hug of the day,
one child in my lap, the other leaning
on my back. How often I am almost unbalanced,
yet somehow right myself. I cannot topple,
for I am their anchor. For now, the grandmothers
tell me, for now. Whispers of reminders eddy
at my feet. If only: I think: if only love like this

could be thinned, spread out, or transmutable. So many
lonely people, and my own years of longing.
If only I could send that aching girl a glimpse
of this: how they love me so,
and are so certain of me that they treat me
almost as furniture. Now this, the baby diving
onto me almost as if to reenter my body.
That determined and that fierce: butting into me,
again and again. Claiming me. I am hers. And she
is mine. For now.

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