waking you up in the mornings, toasting waffles and brewing coffee
unkempt hair and where are my shoes and
school bags too heavy to carry to the bus.
I’ve liked watching you get on board and still,
once in a while, waving from the window.
How quiet the house as I’ve gone from room to room to room
making beds, smoothing the crevices where your bodies have been,
picking up clothes and closing drawers.
I’ve liked these afternoons
sideline afternoons, running, chasing afternoons.
I’ve liked opening the door to the car, to the house, for you to tumble in,
wearing your day, dirty-kneed, crumpled, tired, happy, hungry.
I’ve liked feeding you
sitting at the dinner table with candles and homework and questions
reminding and minding manners, talking with you and you and you.
I’ve put these days in the bank the way my grandmother
said I should do with precious things.
And these nights, nights when you’ve slept
and I’ve wandered from bed to bed to bed
as if you were still tiny and a new miracle
I’ve liked these nights.
I’ve listened for your breath in the moonlit rooms
and I haven’t thought about the days
racing by or about you leaving as you will and should.
I’ve just stood quietly in the great vault of our house, key in hand
and I’ve saved them too.
Christine Kouwenhoven is a writer/artist residing in Baltimore, Maryland. She is the mother of three with her husband, Nick. Christine has a B.A. in English/Writing from Connecticut College and an M.A. from The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. She works at Baltimore School for the Arts, a public arts high school, where she is Director of Communications & Grants and helps to raise money for aspiring young artists: dancers, musicians, visual artists, actors, and perhaps some future writers too.