Feeding the child.

You carry her, grinning, into the kitchen.
Pull the highchair out with one hand,
Slide her into it, rearrange her feet, help her to sit.
Untangle her fingers from your hair.
Standing, you push her chair closer to
The honey-glaze of the heavy wooden table.
You remember cutting each board.

Next blocks, a rattle, a wooden spoon.
Keep her busy while you locate a bowl.
Every morning is oatmeal. Mixed quickly and microwaved —
Grateful to find a use for the thing.
From across the room she drops the spoon,
Bursting into a cascade of baby chirps and giggles.
Gravity is hilarious this week.

You hand her the spoon, kiss her forehead,
Sit beside her at the table. She smells like sunshine.
Every morning oatmeal. She likes hers with cinnamon —
And with bananas on the side.
She smiles between spoonfuls, and mushes her fingers in
It is paint, it is sculpture, it is joy.
Oatmeal covers her face and hair.

You’ve given up on burp cloths.
Mop her face with a kitchen towel.
Sneak sips of coffee between messy bites,
Gently move her hand away from your cup.
She grabs your hair, pulls your face closer to hers,
Oatmeal kisses.
It is time for a bath.

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