Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
To Ansel on His 1st Birthday

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We found out about you
in a blizzard. Fat snow
flakes caught city light
like raw quartz
on their way to Earth.
The magic of your
turned strips of paper
pink. Your first words
in an ancient glyph of
two lines: I exist.

Indeed, my love.

You, a few days old
in my belly, carrying
within you everything
you are and will become.
I can trace parts of you
back along my lineage.
Your eyes, the kind
that crinkle when we smile.
My grandmother's father
brought them over from
Mexico decades ago.

And your feet,
baby. Wide and flat,
made by Mayans, stepping
over salt and sand
and fresh fallen leaves.
Your eyelashes come
from your father—maybe
from Prague or Scotland
or Ireland. These black,
windy lashes might've
first arrived on those
mist-filled mountain
ranges where they once
caught glassy dew drops
that reflected the thin,
gold horizon line...

and your hands, baby.
Thumbs descending
from your father's side,
but the rest I don't
recognize. They might
come from someplace
deep and sacred, touching
stones and irises and
ice and light along the way.

Your hands were born
8:48 p.m. on the cusp
of the fall equinox,
under a waxing moon,
along with the rest of you.
And here you are,
the eve of your first
birthday, drinking milk
thousands of mothers
have taught my body
to make, just for you.

Let me tell you where
you came from, babe.
From a January day in
New York City,
the sky drifting down
in wisps of cloud and snow.

We were ready to love you.

Raquel Vasquez Gilliland is a poet and painter inspired by lupine, storms and quartz. Her first collection, Dirt and Honey, will be released next March by Green Writers Press. She lives in Florida with her husband and son.

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