Babysitting

eyes wide with wonderment
fix on me, beseeching attention

rosebud lips part in genuine glee
when my coveted gaze meets hers

she tilts her peach fuzz head and
with a shrug of a shoulder expresses

a learned coyness, a treasured cuteness,
softening this old woman’s jaded edges

clumsy, chubby fingers reach, fumble,
eventually grasp their target, instinctively

raised to mouth, pink fleshy tongue
ready to explore – my aged hands

reacting, reflexes set to protect,
shelter inexperience, purity

I am awed by her perfection –
innocence flanked by innate trust

what do I have to teach this precious soul
whose joy of life, untarnished, mocks

my own brand of cynicism,  my words
painted with such bias as to destruct

not encourage the fearlessness she displays
eager arms reach for mine, seeking support

unskilled legs desperate to gain a stride
wobble, infantile toes slightly curled

she leads me to the staircase, pridefully
demonstrates how she’s learning to climb

fear fogs my appreciation, having known
the pain of many falls,  I reluctantly follow

admire her determination, the patience
it takes to build such dexterity, a resilience

I could learn from, wonder which of us
has more to offer the other, and then

she is done with the exercise, desires to
descend, has no idea how to proceed, and I

happy to oblige, guide her with the proficiency
of someone artful in the act of backing down.

 

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