What I have loved I cannot hold….
The weight of her body in the crux of my arm.
The squirminess of a baby full of life and vigor.
The sharpness of her memory as it fades over time.
What I have loved I cannot taste…
The natural saltiness of her tear-stained cheeks.
The sweetness of applesauce on the corner of her lips.
The flavor of her toes on which I cannot nibble.
What I have loved I cannot smell…
The lingering essence of baby shampoo.
The rank odor of a diaper left wet too long.
The scent of her skin free from hospital influence.
What I have loved I cannot hear…
The melody of her coos as she sings herself to sleep.
The pitch of her cry when she is mad at the world.
The babbling first words, spelling out my name.
What I have loved I cannot see…
The curve of her smile as she gazes up at me.
The shade of her eyes as they settle into color.
The look of her lips, breathing and free of tubes.
What I have loved I cannot feel…
The warm sticky sweat of my hard sleeping baby.
The letdown of milk, my body’s response.
The tightness of her grasp around my little finger.
What I have loved I cannot forget…
The fullness I felt growing her, safe and connected.
The joy of her birth making a mother out of me.
The sorrow of her death leaving me wanting.