She’s 9 months old.
We’re taking a bath.
6 months ago I cupped her body
And her smile whooshed
In bathwater waves
Now she’s in a rush
To stand and doesn’t like
Getting her hair wet.
Her father’s coming to visit in two hours
I hate him more than usual
because we both didn’t sleep last night.
Years from now, she will turn her head
And say, “if you hated him so much, why did you let him visit?”
We needed the money.
I wet her dark hair down with a soft cloth.
She whines and squints her eyes.
I get the shampoo and she tries to take it
Years from now she’ll say “He brought me nice things. He did everything you asked.”
“That’s right. He did.” I’ll say.
Not telling her that he was terrified of having to really pay
Child support and he was guilty for wanting to have her aborted.
I lather her hair and she gums the rubber duckie
I say “duh key” she says
Years from now I’ll ask why having me was such a big deal anyway
I won’t know how to answer that.
I’ll lift all 17 pounds of her growing body
and wrap it in a blue beach towel
And get her ready to answer
The hardest questions
For years and
Years and years