At first, I was born and I had all I wanted.
Then I turned 1 and was told what I could not want.
And so my longing was born. My belated shadow.
At 2, it was forbidden to whine about longing,
so I learned to hum and sing and whistle and cry.
At 3, it was electric plugs and switches that were prohibited,
so I learned to beg for one more story before lights-out.
At 6, it was colorful candy that was vilified,
so I stuck my fingers in the Hungry Caterpillar book.
At 9, it was lovely laziness that could ruin my life,
so I wrote stories about princesses who had it all and lied around all day.
At 12, it was sultry smoke that was made to look ugly,
so I drew pictures of punk girls smoking cigarettes that they couldn’t smell.
At 15, it was understood that the boy next door might as well be in China,
so I wrote him and he wrote me back.
At 20, I moved out and, finally, I had it all.
By 30, ten years were lost to satisfaction.
I had had it all so much and so many times
that I was tired of it.
So I broke the last taboo
in my feminist family
and had a baby.
I breastfed him until he was 2, hoping to satiate his longing,
So then he learned to laugh himself to sleep.
I was pleased he barely whined.
At 3, it was electric plugs and switches, and so his longing was born.
His delayed shadow.
And my shadow was now layered, filtered & transformed.
The opposite of longing is not the loss of desire,
it is the caring for love acquired.
At 20, he will have moved out and until then,
I will take care to leave room for his shadow when I hold his hand,
paying as close attention to his ethereal as to his material.
And maybe, he can have it all, in a way, in his way, on his way
to fulfillment, never needing to reach the end of his desire.