They’re learning what slides or won’t stand, secret joy in crumbling what they create
or find. I give them permission I teach them to ask for. We’re disappointed

after each crash. Stand back & everything seems smaller. The world shifts;
even now we’re in motion & cells are changing. I can’t read without interruption

by memory or good intentions. I can’t make anything stop spilling & spitting & sputtering.
When they use spinners, I help them put thumbs down & mean it,

breathe through the blur that’s a type of focus & freedom from boring borders. Nobody
has enough language, though I share what little I have.

I hope they always push themselves against the earth & pile imperfections
& place pebbles in familial shapes. Though I don’t do it enough. I want them

to say open, please, and describe the treasure inside. To believe the world
is a box with no lid. Birds swoop & then leave us, but they’re not gone.

They recall our reaching hands. The leaves fall like ripe fruit letting go. Our starving eyes
devour color. The sky reminds us to stay on task. We want to name what’s beyond our reach.

I can’t say what we need or put it down here for them to pick over & stack awkwardly.
I describe balance by its absence, building though we know it falls.

Jennifer R. Edwards, MS, CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist and writer in Concord.  Her debut poetry collection, Unsymmetrical Body, was released in July from Finishing Line Press. You can find her work at Gibson’s and at