the open-aching field

when my girl was two, she would catch me
gazing off into the distance while sitting with
her on the quilted bed, the green carpet, at
the white-tiled kitchen table. she would later

say this look terrified her. she didn’t
know why. maybe it was because she knew
i was not really there; that i was off
some-where else, galaxies away:

floating, wishing,
running, escaping—
to a place she
couldn’t go.

sometimes it was as if i were looking
right past her, through her; and she would
know an emptiness she should not. now and
then she would break into my line of sight

with a jolt or a giggle, wake me from my
daze with her chubby cheeks and hands and
might. i would come back down as if from a
dream, into the most beautiful night-mare.

sometimes when i woke i would forget: every
thing had changed; we were no longer living in
our home; we were no longer living in our lives.
i’ve thought about this for fourteen years and

i still don’t know how to live in the present, to
sit on the floor with my child and just be with her,
just be with the miracle, the fade of the moment,
the open-aching field of expansion and loss.

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