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  • Danielle Nadler

Letters to Gabriel (eight)

I want to remember this stage, this week, this day.

Because I know it won't last.

Soon, you’ll learn to pronounce “please”

and I don’t want to forget how it was.

You say “peez”

but only when a snack is promised in exchange.

You say “tank to”

when you're handed something amazing, like a banana.

You’re never just happy, you’re ecstatic.

Your arms jut out straight and your chin pulls in beneath a toothy grin.

You treat your hair like a napkin,

only to be touched when your hands are caked in spaghetti.

You conjure up your biggest tears when bath time ends.

You reach toward the faucet and shake your head, “no no no no…”

You greet the outdoors with more of a jump than a run.

Your cheeks and thighs gleefully jiggle. Your face turns toward the sun.

You sit proudly atop the big kids slide.

Before you let go, you call for strangers’ attention, “hey ya, hey ya…”

You laugh at the car alarm blaring in the driveway.

Your body jolts in shock (and a bit of horror) when the keys are taken away.

You insist on touching every tire you see.

A busy parking lot is your Disneyland.

You say “owlelwlw” as you spin wheels

on your stroller, your bike, your highchair, your Tonka truck.

I want to remember this stage, this week, this day.

Because I know it won't last.

Soon, you’ll learn to pronounce “wheel”

and I don’t want to forget how it was.


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