What is Supposed to Happen

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When you were small,we watched you sleeping,

waves of breath
filling your chest.
Sometimes we hid behind
the wall of baby, soft cradle
of baby needs.
I loved carrying you between
my own body and the world.

Now you are sharpening pencils,
entering the forest of
lunch boxes, little desks.
People I never saw before
call out your name
and you wave.

This loss I feel,
this shrinking,
as your field of roses
grows and grows….

Now I understand history.
Now I understand my mother’s
ancient eyes.

“What is Supposed to Happen” by Naomi Shihab Nye from Red Suitcase. © BOA Editions, Ltd., 1994. Reprinted with permission.

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