By Mawi Sonna
This poem was published in the Oct. 2019 edition of Live Ideas. View it HERE.
This poem carries both the experiences of being a child and remembering what it is like to be a child again. It holds very personal memories for me, because my first job as a freshman in college through senior year was working for my church’s nursery, and since then a private daycare. I’ve never lived “in the moment” as much as I have when I work with children, or have my patience tried. They are reminders that we are much larger versions of a smaller self. A self with our own strange quirks, needs, and wonderful perspectives. This poem is full of happy contradictions, such as joy and sadness, and openness and hiddenness. Childhood is full of contradictions to an adult, but for a child it is a part of learning how to be human.
It is bone and soul that leap in dance and anger. Legs chasing
wildflower and familiar. In stomps. Forever twirls and little wounds.
It is feeling everything and everything like nothing
because words are still strange and so hard. And feelings are more real
when it burns the face. And that’s okay.
Because perhaps it is easier dreaming in blanket and sand,
since a hand doesn’t have to be a hand, or a mouth.
And it is eyes that laugh with secrets hidden
beneath a kind of grin only a child knows,
but if you ask enough
maybe they’ll tell you only parts of the body, where
the moon goes to hide, or why why is their only question.
Perhaps it is between the crease of an elbow,
the follicle where scalp meets hair,
teeth clenched in blackberries, or dandelions,
or where joint and skin touch cloud and star.
It is bone and soul that wave hellos in Mother May I’s.
It is wrapped around the belly. Like clovers. And lullabies.
It is wanting and wanting, until becoming its own kind of game,
which ends like another end, unwilling.
And it is I love yous wrapped in colors outside of Pooh’s lines,
and goodbyes in single redwood petals.
It is wonder and a wish on a honeysuckle,
stories of nonsense and good sense aching
to be real. Where time is unknown
and unknown is innocence alive