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US-NESS: A Poem for My Daughter

“The Soul will bring forth person if God laughs into her and she laughs back at Him.” Meister Eckhart

i remember the first time you laughed at something i did…

we were in the bathroom, and i was drying my face with a towel, as i uncovered it the surprise brought out a startled giggle from you… a tiny little burst of volcanic joy…

like a backwards echo the giggle seemed to come from the room and find itself in your 6 month old mouth…

i did it again and you laughed again… harder now…

your small baby-plump body shaking with the sugar of discovery…

and i laughed too, surprised by your surprise… and i was suddenly so full of the knowledge that i was your mother and you were my daughter… and nothing could ever

take us away from us

somehow the laughter brought this out… this us-ness…

and the entire moment was charged with our unique place in the world and with each other

and you were cackling so frenetically

and our eyes were locked,

both of us tearing up and caught up in this swift wisp of hysterical happiness

you fell, laughing, into me…

your tiny arms hugging me and holding on to my shirt

your personhood was so alive to me, so seared on my heart

and the laughter gave way to giggles and the giggles,

chuckles and the chuckles, chortles and the chortles a low hum of joy…

until there was only mother and daughter

eyes clasped as tightly as our embrace

smiling together.

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