Internally chanting pleas as we walk hand in hand
into the big, brick building-
please be happy, please be calm, please be kind.
Am I pleading to myself or to you,
entering the crowded multi-purpose room
which has grown heated and steamy with bodies?
In your Yoda shirt and sneakers tied in double-knots
you look ready and confident for anything,
yet something about your self-assuredness makes me waver.
The sting of tears rushes to my eyes and the back of my nose,
but I sniff them back and command my hand to
stop stroking your head like a pet.
From my body you have sprung, but you are not mine.
Have I given you enough, nourished your heart and mind
with everything you need to be launched from the nest of me?
Please be strong, please be tenacious, please be attentive.
Please be accepting of my kisses on your forehead, and patient
about the trepidation with which I let you go.
You walk a ways in the line, turn to blow me kisses,
then disappear for your first day of school.