I wrote this poem in an online poetry class – With Dedication Writing Poems to and for Other People, taught by Aaron Devine for the Fellowes Athenaeum Trust Fund of the Boston Public Library. The first session began with the prompt to write something for a friend or relative. My first-born granddaughter popped to my mind immediately. This is the first summer we will not be together. Sigh. (Damn you, Covid-19.)
My First. My Sage
I see you first; I see you emerge and begin.
I see you running to me as a toddler
Your broad smile and unbridled enthusiasm
I see you laying your head on my shoulder on the Ashmont train
The gentleman across the way joyfully proclaimed: Aren’t grands the best?
I see you climbing on every ledge as we walk up the hill
Jumping from ledge to steps
And around bushes that occasionally interrupt.
The drudgery of the hill vanishes because of your energy
I walk faster, too.
I see how beautifully colors look on the warm brown canvass of your skin
Everything has to match: socks, shoes, ribbons
Each summer your legs get longer,
Your questions bolder, your curiosity stronger
Why this, why not that, can we, Grandi, can we?
Every summer your hair changes
Now a wardrobe of beads or bows, now crazy curls when you cut your locs,
One day straightened, you almost break your neck as you flip it all around.
Then back natural and dyed bright red at the top
(I can’t believe your mother let you do that!)
Saige you’ve aged to two digits, you’ll never be a single digit again
You are quieter now
You hold my hand but you don’t run toward me, you stride pass the ledges
You don’t bring your dolls when you visit
You don’t smile because of your braces.
And now you’re a teen
Crossing the bridge from girl to woman
Your body becomes seen
What will teen mean for you?
Can I keep you hidden though you are in plain sight?
I want you to know how much I cherish you,
How terrific you are; how talented
I carry you with me.
I want you to never undervalue yourself,
To know that even in these times when we don’t know what might happen next…
You can be sure of my love, my commitment, my protection and prayer, my acceptance even when I push you to do more
My house is forever your home.
It is your sanctuary, your refuge, your vacation, your break.
You are loved, cherished, treasured, adored, admired, cheered, supported, elevated, and increased
My first and forever Saige.