I take your hand as we prepare to cross the road.
You sigh into the safety of me, and I grip tighter
to tell you that I love you.
I kiss your forehead as you sleep
and as you breathe in, breathe out, your face free from pain in loose and dreamy folds
I straighten your books
iron your clothes
touch the tiny silver bird around my neck
(your father gave me that, you said, your eyes bright with exquisite memory, pressing it into my hand)
stack your shoes
and welcome the faintness of your scent
on your collars and scarves, and on my pillowcase.
It’s OK, I whisper, when I sense the tears are close. I’m here.
I gift you comfort, and you embrace it,
this unexpected joy making a simple kind of sense.
What peace there is in finding it.
And so we will journey in tears and joy together,
until you must go on alone.