Taylor Frost, Hollins University, Virginia, United States
To my own,
I think about you every day–
you are my morning thought, my midnight
prayer. I think about your undetected heartbeat,
about your undeveloped lungs, about your freckled
cheeks, about your rose petal lips never curling
into a smile, about your forehead and your nose
and your fingertips and the bottoms of your feet
and all of the delicate skin that I will never touch,
that I will never press against my crooning mouth
just to see your curious eyes open.
I think about the way your father would look
with your miracle body cradled in his arms–
I see him kissing the tips of your ears, weaving
lullabies into your corn silk hair, laughing into
your reaching, open palms. I see him spooning
drops of amber honey on to your tongue, feeding
you tales of peach fuzz summers, of afternoons
spent chewing honeycomb on your great-grandfather’s
farm. I see him in the dark, bare feet lifting from the cold
kitchen floor, raising you up, holding you face to face
with the moon.
I think about who I could have been with you–
the kind of mother who would wash your muddy legs
in the bed of a quiet river on a Sunday, the kind
of mother who would carry you up a mountain
on my back to watch your first sunrise, the kind of mother
who would plant honeysuckle beneath your window,
the kind of mother who would pull you out into the storm
just so that you could taste the rain. I would be the kind
of mother to count your first steps, your oceans of tears,
your lost teeth, the number of stars in your vast, endless sky.
There is a word in the Portuguese language
that refers to the feeling of longing for something or someone
that you love and which is lost, Saudade.
That is what I call you.