Monday, September 20, 2004

Leila's summer

Here's a sort of poem I wrote when we got back from our travels this summer.

My daughter pushes the limits, even in sleep.She cuddles up to the guard rail, flings one arm and leg over as if to anchor herself, aware of her propensity to toss, having thrown herself across and off pushed together twin beds and a California King.
Awake, she points outside, throws her shoes at our feet, wears her hat and cries until we comply.
Barefoot in the morning grass she chases the cat, rattles pepsi cans and finds water. She always finds water. We learn to close the toilet lid.
At the beach she crawls, then walks, headlong into the waves and crams a fist of sand into her mouth. The salt surprises her- she blinks but doesn't cry.
In the pool she wraps her legs around my waist, leans back and dips her head beneath the cool. In the bath at home she won't allow this. I place her on the edge, she leaps into my arms. Outside, she races away from me, giggles when I near. The pool deck is slick- she slips and cries but doesn't stop for long.
Her cousins take her to weddings late at night- teach her to shimmy. She moves her shoulder up and down- bends her knees and straightens. Music has always entranced her. She strives to snap her fingers to the drums- wonders at how it's done.
I listen to her speak. The mix of languages doesn't confuse her, she just blends them in- Arabic, French, English, some Spanish, too. She thinks we understand her babbles- speaks confident and loud.
She giggles as I chase her in the bookstore- racing ahead of me down towering stacks. If I'm too slow, she stops to wait- restarts, chortling, as I catch up.
Around the house she races- bangs at closed doors and cries when she's shut out. We flop exhausted on the bed- she goes and goes. One brief nap carries her till late- but when she sleeps it's fast.

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