When all else fails, a stroll will put you to sleep.
We walk beneath trees still mostly green, here
and there a branch burst into purple flame, until
Whole Foods looms glossy at the sidewalk's end.
We load into the basket beneath your sleeping form
a pumpkin and a gourd hooked like a swan's neck.
All the way there my sister and I talk about marriage
and I wonder with whom you'll walk like this someday
remembering aloud the house you grew up in, our
spiral staircases, the boxes of dolls in the basement.
The minute we stop, you wake; I pepper your head
with kisses, try to adjust your already-drooping socks.
It's autumn in Newton. My muddy iced coffee is the last
of the season. Little man, you can move yourself now
across the floor with intent, though you pause and sit
contemplating whether the ball that's rolled away
is worth the effort of the journey. It's always worth
the effort of the journey: the ball, the book, the child
you may someday try to raise, as clueless as we.
Make your way across the room. Pluck sweetness
from every interaction, extract smiles from strangers.
Go get it: we're cheering each painstaking step you take.
Rachel Barenblat, MA, USA