For My Daughter, on What Would Have Been Her Eleventh Birthday

Photo by Rikonavt on Pexels.com

Eleven

I want you to know

that we are happy. 

*

I want you to know that we laugh. 

That some days I think I have forgotten

what you look like. 

*

That we sit on the patio

drinking wine

and sometimes

we don’t think of you at all. 

*

That I can’t imagine you

at the age you would be now.

*

I want you to know 

that I keep your clothes

near our bed, 

where I can see them.

*

That your photo is faded

and everyone in it looks dated,

except you.

*

I want you to know that sometimes

I live in the days of your death.

That sometimes I can smell

the bereavement suite, sometimes 

the sound of the heart monitor wakes me

and the sound of the fan whirring

and the smell of toast on the ward 

and the squeak of trolleys wheeling drugs 

in the corridor and you in the Moses basket 

is all there is. 

*

I want you to know that on those days

it is difficult to let you go again. 

*

I want you to know

that today isn’t one of those days.

*

I want you to know that today 

I carry you up to the cemetery like

a goldfinch on my shoulder

*

and that you bob away in the air

and then back again, and that 

it makes me happy

to imagine us this way.

6 thoughts on “For My Daughter, on What Would Have Been Her Eleventh Birthday

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