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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