There she lies

There she lies
Turning nine before my very eyes
Turning nine before my very tired eyes
Effortlessly, in her sleep
Bigger now than she has ever been
Yet half the age she’ll be when she leaves home.

Before my eyes she is turning
The age her oldest cousin was
When it all began
To end.

I have eyed nine for a long, long time now
Fixed a bead on it years ago (she wasn’t yet one)
Been staring it down like a sherpa stares down a mountain pass
Wary, girding
Equal parts dread and wonder.

I will live through her ninth year if she lives through her ninth year
As she lives through her ninth year.

And when we get through to the other side of nine
Three hundred and sixty-four days from today
Hearts and souls and cells intact
And we will
Because we must
I will heave a sigh of relief
So deep
And so long
It will encircle the globe
Looping and looping
Over mountain passes,  across inky oceans
Until she’s damn good and eleven

And I tire, finally, of fear.



9 Responses to There she lies

  1. Eliza September 12, 2013 at #

    Oh, LD, so many hugs. May she continue strong and bright and beautiful.

  2. Eliza C-J September 16, 2013 at #

    I’ve been reading too long to pretend I won’t anxiously await rejoicing in the breeze of that sigh. Much love to all, and thank you for sharing.

    • LD September 16, 2013 at #

      And thank you for reading. And exhaling together.

  3. StephLove September 26, 2013 at #

    I don’t know the back story about her cousin, but good luck to you in the coming year. I hope whatever is worrying you is not on her mind.

  4. LD September 26, 2013 at #

    Backstory enough: cancer death at ten; struggle through most of the ninth year, during which time (smack dab in the middle) she was born.

    I sincerely think that the very thing that is worrying me is not at all worrying her (memento mori; subterranean dread). What I think possible is that she moves about the world with a faint awareness of a legacy hovering at the edges of it. I am hoping that what she’s consciously aware of, if anything, is something that expands her wonder and gratitude, and empowers her to feel as if her time here is as precious as it actually is, and thus well worth the effort to appreciate to the fullest.

    Interestingly, I rather think that a tendency to live life fully, daily, is the natural habitat of the nine-year-old. Leastwise this one. So far, so good.

  5. Lynda M O September 26, 2013 at #

    Holding her and the family up to the Universal Healing Power and hoping for the best in all these coming years. The legacy is such an interesting thought, I must dwell on that more and wonder at it for a bit. May I come back later, -perhaps, and follow up with this weightiness ?

  6. Clare October 13, 2013 at #

    Oh Polly. You never fail to move me. May this year be her (and your) best one yet with health all around.

  7. Candace November 22, 2013 at #

    Clicking to your website to check in on you and your writings and came straight to this beautiful piece. I remember the intensity of that time, for the short and lovely time I was a part of your beautiful lives, and wish you deep relief as your strong girl flows through her 9th year. Missing and loving you and yours.

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