Breathe them in
each brown cheek
each braid, each small twist with bright ballies on the ends
each long-lashed big brown eye.
Breathe them in.
Let them find their way from your eyes, your nose
down your nervous system
down your blood stream
pump through your heart
into your tiny cells. Magically, they live there now.
They are yours.
Breathe. Breathe them in.
Breathe their questions and their answers
Breathe their coats, thrown on the library floor.
Breathe the way I feel when they play video games I wish they wouldn't
Axes and guns and knives pooling blood on the screen
Breathe in my questions, my discomfort.
Shout their names when they arrive
Bug them mercilessly
attack if they don't greet me back
hug them too much, smoosh them, spin them all around.
Dizzy, discombobulated, grinning, they mutter,
"Hi, Ms. S."
Watch them. Watch them build. Watch how the figure it out.
Admire the way, missing marbles, they use mini-Legos on the toy
making something new out of what was broken.
Watch how they answer back, smartly
refusing to take shit. Or how they retreat, quietly,
building an inner world, a safe place, nurturing hurt.
Fuss at them. "We don't say the "N" word. EVER."
"We don't use the "B" word. EVER."
"What do you mean you don't have homework?"
"Let's do your homework."
"Go get your movies at home and bring them back. Right now."
"Zip up that coat!"
"I know you did not just say that to him. Say you're sorry. Right now."
Breathe. All that beauty. Glory in it.
Thank God for His creation. These. These ones.
Know you can't protect them. Breathe.
Breathe in. Let it out. You can't fix it. You can't.
But for right now--. For right now.
You can-breathe them in.