Poems & Essays

25 Jun

What is Near?

General/Column No Response

—Sophia, age 3

She waits in the liminal space of curiosity
while I secure the harness of her car seat.

She brings Ella’s croon of nearness to mind
as her eyes drift past me to the pale moon.

In answer, I press my cheek to hers
and whisper, This, this is near 

a quiet thrill, a warm delight of skin on skin
not reserved for lovers, oh no; children

and parents are granted the right of nearness.
A prompt of sweet conversation—the dearest

question—daughter, draws me to you,
oh you, my wildest dream come true.


This poem echoes lyrics from “The Nearness of You” by Ned Washington, American
A previous contributor to MAW, Shanna Powlus Wheeler is a writing center director and college English instructor from central Pennsylvania, where she lives with her husband and two children. Her poetry appears in a variety of magazines, as well as in the chapbook Lo & Behold (Finishing Line Press, 2009). She just completed a full-length poetry manuscript, Evensong for Shadows, which pivots on the themes of miscarriage and motherhood.
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