The night she came home from the hospital
I taped four pieces of construction paper
side by side, spelled welcome in black crayon
then hung the banner high
against the stars of the front window.
On Dad’s chair, I sat waiting
—all the way back on worn leather,
my legs resting over the edge,
my hands in my lap folded neatly.
Here, Mom cradled her down to me, and carefully
I moved the warm blanket back, memorizing
the shape of her head, studying the tiny lines
of her new pink skin. I wanted her
to know me, hear her voice sing my name.
This weight I held was our beginning.
I was told I must always share—my heart
breaking as she gazed back at me.
• • •
Karen Benke is the author of Sister (Conflux Press, 2004) and three Creative Writing Adventure books from Roost Books/Shambhala: Rip the Page! (2010), Leap Write In! (2013), and forthcoming in September 2015: Uncap That Pen! A writing coach and a poet with California Poets in the Schools, she lives north of the Golden Gate Bridge with her husband, son, and two literary assistants: a cat named Clive and a dog named Rasco Roon.
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