What is Supposed to Happen


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.