We held our breath as you slid out,
released it when you cried, a welcome
sound after the silence of that first
delivery. Passed from one grandmother
to the other, neither dared shush you.
Your father paraded you to the entrance
of the birthing suite, announced your
arrival to clerks at the desk. The nurse
had to lift his hand from your back
so you could be weighed, measured.
In three weeks you start first grade.
My son will let go your hand
as you scale the steps
of the school bus, backpack
spread like wings
across your shoulders.
When his big brother
went to school, your father sobbed
I want my brother, I need my brother.
He huddled in the bay window
until the car pool returned, blankie
clutched in his hand, refused
to eat lunch or watch Sesame Street.
Now he will rub his eyes,
claim allergies. He will sit
in his car as the bus pulls away,
watch it grow smaller,
turn the corner, disappear
Nina Bennett is the author of Forgotten Tears: A Grandmother’s Journey Through Grief. Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Red Poppy Review, Houseboat, Bryant Literary Review, Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, The Broadkill Review, and American Society: What Poets See. Nina’s poem “Déjà Vu” took third place in the 2012 Out & About magazine contest.