Mama, can I
kiss you? He asks,
already reaching
for whatever part of me
is closest, easiest
to grab. His toddler hands
already mountains. His fingers
rain. You can track
the distance of a storm
counting the seconds
between thunder and light.
You can smell it
long before.
How to teach him
is not enough?
Mama, kiss me,
he demands, hard,
wants me to press
into each of his palms.
Their cherry pits. My lips
around his bones. Wants
to do the same to mine.
My hands a flooded
river. An orchard. My hands
not mine. Eat me, he says,
I’m a cookie, and means
sweetness, his fingers
and belly, means:
I just want love
I do not have
a language for.
His hands already
squeezing tight
my cheeks. My face
between two mountains.
How to teach him
what consent
should feel like?
The seconds between
thunder and light.
A downpour. Hard,
I kiss each
of his knuckles.


Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach