Things I Wanted to Ask

Things I wanted to ask but
I was—
Too young to respect time and life’s brevity
Too scared to offend
Too shy to communicate
Too naive to recognize her wisdom at hand.
So, if you don’t mind, may I ask you?

When did you know love and how would you wrap words around it?
What do you wish you had taught your kids?
How have you gotten through your fear?

You’ve had the same Sports Illustrated calendar up
On the same month, March,
For as long as I can remember.

What time do you go to bed and is routine important?

Do you talk to her when you’re alone,
in that so familiar house
which you both made into a home?

Does she answer you?

Can you hear her voice…
coming up from the basement where she folded the clothes,
to tell you that there’s ice cream in the freezer
and Fig Newtons in the cupboard?

How did you let your son move out when it was his time to grow up?
Was it scary?- ‘cause I’m so scared to let my baby grow and go.
I want to keep her in my china cabinet,
protected with all my gallery pieces.
If the Venus de Milo were Alexandros’ living daughter
he wouldn’t have let her out.
The world breaks girls arms off to keep them in their place.
She’s bound to get broken.

But I digress…

How much cinnamon is in the apple pie recipe? (I can’t find my copy.)
What do you wish I knew
and for the sake of whatever might be holy,
Please tell me!
This is not the time to be reticent.

Do you think you’ll see her again when you die?

I have so many questions that I should have asked her.
But I was too young to know the power of your age.
And I thank you for letting me ask you now
But I still hesitate.