Mila told my brother she was hopeless as tears flowed,
and I drove from her home to catch a flight back to mine.
I texted him a funny face like ones she’s amused me with all week
while brushing our teeth as she laughed at my buzzing instrument.
I assisted her in placing strawberry pink paste on her suction-cupped bristles,
a gift for the treasured 4-year-old I adore from a friend of mine.
I miss that face, golden hair lit by sun, Barbie time in her lavender room.
I miss her brushing my mane, placing a pink heart-shaped barrette on my crown.
I miss kissing that forehead, feeling her tiny fingers holding my just-a-bit-bigger hand,
splashing against Atlantic waves as she pointed to foam she called lemon meringue.
I miss standing hand-in-hand in agreed-to silence witnessing a sand crane
as it found a tiny silver fish that it gulped down before my niece’s large sea-like eyes.
I miss us watching a blue raven land, black feet resting on sand we made our land for an afternoon.
Miss seeing her realize beauty in colors dancing, shells jumping up and down.
I miss wading in the pool to the waterfall with Ariel and the purple-haired doll she named Mira
when we made friends with a sweet 6-year-old called Clara.
I miss how alive I felt when she leaned against my hip as we witnessed
a hawk and vulture scream at one another in a backyard forest dual.
I long for a swing on my front lawn that pushes a girl who’s just a few feet tall.
I’ll perform underdogs at her bidding anytime, day, night, before turning out lights,
reading books I’ve retrieved on travels. I long to sing her songs, write stories together.
I asked Fred to tell her I’ll return as soon as possible, and until then we can send funny faces.
But I know we are each tactile lovers, prefer to color Mickey and Minnie together.
So until then, I’ll weep a bit on the inside, and laugh thinking of crunched faces talking of poop.
By Suzanne Beranek