Running Water

Our daughter collects boxes.
Big boxes.
Small boxes.
Boxes with purple lids that pop off
or snap open on old brass hinges.
Boxes with black velvet on the sides
and pale blonde ribbons around the top.
Boxes with soft cotton inside
and holes pierced through the lids.
Boxes in pieces,
scattered like cardboard confetti
and poking through the carpet into my toes.

She isn’t here today,
so I’m searching her room for a very specific box.
I’m on my hands and knees
pulling them out from the darkness under her bed.
I’m laying them out on the floor
where I can slip in a single toe,
just to see if I fit.

I need a box I can get inside of.
Something as easy to slip into as the waves at the ocean.
I have asked you to carry me,
to pick me up, hold me close,
but you might as well be trying to embrace running water.
You’re holding me in a sieve and I’m clinging to the sides.
I am too much for your hands.
The carpet is soaked around your feet,
it squishes between your toes
and I see a look of disgust pass over your face.
I could turn down the volume.
I could twist the tap and pull myself back until I’m only a few little drops
and then you could catch me in your hands like you used to do.
You could hold me against your palms
and I’d fit.

© Laura A. Lord, 2020


Thank you to MindLoveMisery for their prompt.

197 thoughts on “Running Water

  1. Beautiful poem. I don’t really know if I’m right, this feels like a metaphor for a parent who is desperately seeking their child’s attention and love. The child has grown up and has no time for the parent. The parent is ready to adjust according the child’s availability. They just want to be by their child’s side.

    Like

    1. I think poetry is something we read and interpret based on where we are in our own life or with our own experiences.

      That is certainly an interpretation that would work with this piece. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      Liked by 1 person

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