She is sorting forks and spoons.
She throws a spoon at me.
She puts a fork in the spoons and laughs.
“Which stamp says Melanie? Find Melanie.”
She stamps her name on the corner of a page
then on her hand, then on my hand.
It’s 11, time for a break. We walk together in the hall.
Too close and she rips off my necklace.
Too far and she sits, shuts down.
One light finger on her elbow and we can make it three times
around the building, as long as I keep singing.
I have been in love with her forever.
I just didn’t know her until this year.
Back in the room. Almost lunch.
It’s her period, so I change the pad and
replace the diaper while she plays with a buckle,
clip, unclip, slap on the seat, a game
about the joy of noise.
Now she has to lean on me
hand on my hand to pull her pants up, flush.
My job is to find when she needs me
and when I need to let her go.
Do I keep handing her soap? Do I keep saying rinse?
It is the hardest job in the world.