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Child in Time
by Linda Fonnesbeck-Collins

Tell me, when was the last time you jumped into my arms
and hooked your legs around my back,
tucked your head into the curve of my neck
and wrapped yourself, like cellophane, around me?

When was it I got on my knees so we could talk, eye to eye
or the last time we walked, hand in hand?
What day was it the last time you fell
and came running to me for a hug?

I can't remember the very last time I tucked you in,
sang you a lullaby,
and brought you a glass of water from the kitchen.

Had I known, I might have marked the calendar
the way I marked your
first tooth
first word
first step

Had I known, the hugs would have been longer,
the lullaby another verse or two.
Had I known, kneeling for the last time to be just your size,
I'd have promised myself to remember
this small place.

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