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.