My daughter asks me to carry her.
She is almost six, and she can walk,
can walk and run and use the word
infinity in a sentence. Still this longing
to be carried. This longing to be lifted
and held and loved and moved through
the world all at once. I recognize her want.
When I was a girl, I remember how,
after we’d gone to a party and arrived
home after dark, I would pretend
to be asleep in the back seat of the rusting
yellow car. I’d will my limbs to dangle
and make my eyes stay shut—all
to secure the two minutes it took for my father
to pick my body up and transport me
from the Chevy to my thin twin bed.
Oh, the strength of my father’s arms.
How to this night I remember them,
the warmth of his torso, and how solid
it felt, his love. And so when my daughter
asks me to carry her, I do not say no.
Because I still can carry her. And because
as old as I am, I still wish sometimes that
someone would lift me from wherever
I am and hold me, hold me as they carry
me through the cold and into a warm,
familiar place where I still believe
everything will be alright.