I'll Gather

I’ll gather
the mispronounced words
shouted, shocked, in little questions
searching for meaning
for a seven, eight,
nine year-old mind.

I’ll gather
the crusts
of grilled cheese
buttery and crunchy
and forgotten.
What I considered
lunch when
you were three
and there was no
s p a c e.

I’ll gather
the hot foreheads,
sweaty with fever,
and the tired eyes
and damp cloths
and cartoons, and
wrap them in

I’ll gather
the stories.
The ones you wrote
or spoke or shouted
about leaves
or horses
or mom and dad,
dolls and
the earth and
your cousins.

I’ll hold them
until you
need them again
but I need them

I’ll gather
the little shirts
with memories stitched
into the seams,
moments etched
onto the tags,
soft and worn
and I’ll hold onto them
for you. For too long.
For ever.

I’ll gather
my Self.
Back in increments;
a poem here,
a new yoga pose,
a recipe that only
I will love,
a shaven minute off my pace.

I’ll gather
the squares
and stitch them
with threads of memories
and those feelings
stirring in my chest
and I’ll hope
that you need it
as much
as I do, but
only for a moment.