Blueberries for Cal
Watching little Henry, 6, scoop up blueberries
and shovel them into his mouth, possessed.
I’m so glad I brought blueberries—wish my kids
could/would eat them. Cal can’t; Simone won’t.
Henry’s sisters Lucy & Jane took turns feeding each
other goldfish crackers and sips of juice.
Arms around each other’s neck and back. Tiny things.
I wish my daughter had a sister like that
and my son a nervous system that let him walk
and munch berries. Sometimes I can’t bear
all the things Cal doesn’t get to do. I want to curse
everything I can’t give him.
Admire/compare/despair—that’s not the most real
feeling I’m feeling, is it? I feel joy in Henry’s joy.
Blueberries for the child who wants them.
There’s all this energetic sweetness, enough to go around,
to give and taste and trust. More than enough.
For Cal too. I want to remember this.
My children seem to subsist on music and frosting.
Where there’s frosting, there’s cake.
Where there’s music, someone chose to make a song
over all other things on this earth.
From The Octopus Museum, (Knopf 2019) by Brenda Shaugnessy. Copyright © 2019 by Brenda Shaugnessy. Used with the permission of the poet.