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To Noureen (original poem)

Toddler girl poem


Born with the sun inside your skin.

You trailed light and shadow in your wake.

I went under, water filled my lungs and I drowned.

Yours was the hand that pulled me up.

You became the light in a place I have long sought to find.

Love of my life.

You are the repository of my lost dreams

You taught me tenacity and tenderness.

We built a country out of our interlocked arms

And together we’ll brave the ranks of hell.

Yours was the only shelter strong enough to protect me.

For a man’s protection was like a shroud with too many holes in it

Exposing me to the wind.

But your sanctuary was absolute.

May you always be restless, may you wander far and wide.

May you never dream of diamond rings,

But instead climb the mountains they were mined from.

May you walk through gardens all your life.

May you always have the comfort of music.

Above all, music.

May you never know the fears you calm in me,

The demons your laughter chases away.

Your laughter.

Your laughter is the antidote.

And I will chase that sound to my rock bottom and out the other side.

I will make it my home.

After all the tears and the doubt,

After the vacillating between despair and joy

After all the noise,

There is only this:

The shining space, the singing air

Between us.

I wish I could show you all the things that you taught me.

I wish I could spread them out before you, incalculable gifts.

You taught me to want so much.

Because of you, I long for everything.

As sleep overtakes you, I whisper in your ear,

The only thing I want to teach you:

“Don’t fall for their pretty deceptions.

Don’t let them put you in a box.

My beautiful savage, my New World.

Don’t ever let them conquer the wild in you.

They will try to pull your strings and make you dance.

So dance, my darling.

Dance them a rebellion. Dance them into oblivion.

Make yourself into a weapon and fight.

For you have angels at your back

And a multiverse inside of you.”

I whisper this as song, as prayer, as a promise,

My eyes on them,

“You will break the cycle.”

I come up for air, with water filled lungs,

Spent with rapture,

Holding on to your hand.

You close your eyes, your breath fills my body

A feeling washes over me:

I’m home.

Note: All my poems are published on

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