We are at the point where conversations
take place in reflection,
your face and shoulders framed in the rear-view mirror.
You at nearly three seek disorder where there is none.
I expect anything but this, usual statements
of thirst or the urgency of an untied shoelace
so with my mind on the distance to the house,
I placate with “rainbows come after the rain,
that’s the rule.”
I glance into the glass, see synapse and sinew
connect what you know to what I tell you.
My answer is found wanting.
Who knew at nearly three that words
would heap at the back of your mouth,
so you can slip them forward, dexterous
and articulate, as you need them.
Maybe these querying faculties steamed
into your vegetables
or soaped into your scalp
in your bath, or took a letter
from every time we questioned wildly
what green can be the colour of.
“No momma, rainbows should come first,
they’re more important”
And I cannot let it pass, though I should.
Can’t leave you only light where there is dark,
so I tell you we need rain first to reward us with colour,
the softness of wet grass on dog paws,
the balm of the still puddle to the pebble.
I grip the wheel, feel the rain fall on us
in a way a three year old should never know.
As your mothers we stretch our brittle spines
to the limit of our material to keep you dry.
But I see in your eyes the moment you take off
at a run, tearing the fabric of fact to demand
only beauty, only truth.