Near the End

A poem



Imagine we grow up overnight
Once our baby is placed in our arms.

We can’t grimace
When we see him empty
His stomach over the table.

When he chokes on candy
Or spills his lemonade.

When he trips over his shoelaces
Or awakes with growing pains.

We’re stoic and composed
When the nurse can’t find his veins
To draw those numbers needed
That tell us where he’s weak.

We’re not surprised to see his
Ribbons hang on frames
Those paintings he stroked slowly
That exhibit all his grace.

Collages, oil pastels,
And markers and chalk,
Mixed media is his favorite…
He hits the right spot.

We don’t break in hysterics
When he rises for air
Enduring all the lay-ups
Tossed into the cool air.

Too hard to miss a game
Too brave to feel defeat
He plays with heart and gumption
And won’t be left alone.

We love what he’s becoming
Outside his brother’s trace.

He’s carved a space in accolades
Which cannot be replaced.

He knows to run or dribble
A ball with those two legs.

But what is time: a fleeting ship,

A vapor in disguise.

What good is it to hover
Like a bee about to strike?
To never want my child to melt
Like sugar overnight?

We toss and turn we cannot sleep
When fevers burn them up.

You reach for me
My hand a dream
Entwined your fingers find.

Eventually, we’ll shed some
Tears when time entails a sore.

It’s near the end that life reveals
What we’ve been waiting for.


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