If I were my mother I would cut the brown
and bitten bits from my daughter’s
collection of abandoned apples
cook them in a small pot
eat them with muesli and yoghurt.
If I were my grandmother I would never
have given a whole apple
to a child in the first place, but slivered it
into sharable pieces
arranged neatly on a plate for all.
I try to be a good mother
never raising my voice or hand
but I’ve always been awkward about fruit.
Buying blueberries out of season
just because I can.
I keep trying to protect my daughter from
the browning bitten parts of the world
but think guiltily of the apple crumble
we could be having as I send
spent, forgotten apples to the worms.
On a good day I’ll remember my mask
after I’ve shut the door
go back inside for it and realise
the sun pushes lace and leaf
shadows around my daughter’s room
toys spread carefully
on a good day
I’ve spent an hour or two forgetting
I’ll need a mask if we go out there.
The change table is a safe place, you learn
no longer protesting instead
laughing, finding your voice, kicking
to the edge raising eyebrows
until I respond.
You wake with a shout sometimes
then a smile when your dad or I
appear, faces goofy with love.
You’re all gums and drool.
One day soon you’ll sleep through
and I’ll miss our 4am meetings
when you feed with focus, then come to
that gummy smile again as you realise, I imagine,
I was here all along.