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And every time I hold you
I pray for gentleness,
for a whisper of wisdom
in my limbs
that I may make your world
while I can
while I have the time
and if I could slow it all down
and if it’s not too late for me
to teach myself to pause
and not have to
rush from hour to hour,
to breathe patience
and not be quick to anger,
to will weariness to lift
away from my shoulders
without coming in contact
with your skin,
to love, but not
to love so hard it hurts,
to be light
but not too bright
nor too warm or too cold
not all there or too lost,
and pull you ever closer,
pull the moments towards us
and wrap you
in the mid-tones of colors
not too red nor too blue,
I will carry you with me
in this new beginning
this rewriting of a soul
that never knew how
to stand still
or be calm before,
not until I made the trip
to a place of sharp pain
and loud anguish
and slept
and slept
and came back with you,
my most precious bundle
in a world that holds
another chance
to pray to be gentle

from “San Francisco Family”
by photographer Caroline Tran


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