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  You could have a big dipper   

To My Husband, Now a Father by Jessica Whipple

How long until the pictures won’t make me cry?

I ask not in the same way I wonder

how long I’ll wait for stretch marks to fade

but in the way I used to ask

how long your fall break was, so many years ago

to know just how tightly

I’d need to hold on

before losing you to a high rise in Philly

or a split-level in Virginia.

I still don’t want time to steal anything from us.

I want to remember forever how you looked

hunched over the warming bed

as curled-toe feet kicked air

pink hands took innocent swipes at the nurses.

You were the first to touch her

so it was your love she learned first

in the strength of your arms.

She’ll realize its permanence, as I have;

it’s not the kind that’s allowed to depart

like warmth leaves an unmade bed.

She doesn’t know she’s the reason you’ll do certain things:

You’ll slow down

stop swearing at other drivers

(you’ve written yourself reminders)

And still won’t understand

when she’s the one driving too fast.

And even what she can’t perceive

but will come to know with each passing year

has marked her,

how her name is written on your car’s dashboard

as well as your heart,

the former in black marker.


Jessica writes for adults and children in Lancaster, PA, USA. She volunteers as a reader for Ember Journal, contributes to Wildflowers Girls Magazine, and is pursuing publication of her picture book manuscripts. Follow her on Twitter @JessicaWhippl17 or visit

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