on your first birthday

for Leo

In the beginning, we measured you
with our hands, first the size
of our pinky nails, then as big
as our palms.
And when you outgrew the span
of our fingers, we compared you
to vegetables – broccoli, eggplant, pumpkin.
Standing in the produce aisle
we cradled a squash, crowing
over your growing
limbs, your ripening.
On an August afternoon
we measured you in hours
and minutes,
in dilations and effacements,
in stages and stations,
in clenching muscles and hard-fought breaths.
They announced the length and weight
and time and date.
You, the breadth
of lionlike grace.


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