I take a picture of her
in my mind.
I record her words
in my heart.
If I can, I snap a picture.
If I can, I write it down.

I do this for the day
she yells at me,
or mumbles under her breath
if she’s learned anything at all,
“I hate you”
or “You don’t understand me”
or “It’s not fair”
in ten years.

let it be ten years
before that is here.

It will still feel like it is tomorrow.

I do this for tomorrow
when she melts down into a puddle of a child
before nap time.

I do this for myself so that
I can calmly scoop her up
and into my arms
I remember her.

in her pink tutu and ruby red slippers,
frolics down the street
brushing the blond wisps of hair
out of her blue moon eyes.

“Mama, I love you like a rainbow loves.
Big and colorful, and so big.”

Hop, skip, twirl.
Light, free, joy.

The sun shines brightly
on what’s left of her blond pig tails.

I use these snapshots to pad my heart.
For all of the tomorrows to come.

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