THE BLOG

Poem: "Advice for My Niece"

Depending on the kind of soul you have, it's either a digital countdown or an hourglass we carry around inside ourselves, doing the dishes or sitting on the couch in the next room as a reward for making dinner in the first place.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Advice for My Niece

Depending on the kind of soul you have,

it's either a digital countdown

or an hourglass we carry around inside

ourselves, doing the dishes

or sitting on the couch in the next room

as a reward for making dinner

in the first place. This time

we'll go with the countdown, and Maya

I'm not much for etymology, but

your name means infinite in a language

I invented to get around the whole

crapshoot of it all. So the numbers in you,

they just on and on with their red selves

and you do the same with your brave, first steps

while the rest of us are equal parts

sand ticking off and opportunity today.

You'll recognize it sometimes

by the hair that used to be

on the right side of your uncle's head or the hard time

your grandmother starts to have just walking.

Other times, you won't have seen it coming -

the numbers will turn to the single digits,

the sand will layer the glass only once,

the person you love walking in the crosswalk

will result in flowers on the curb, refreshed often

in the first months, then in intervals, then only

on birthdays. You, being eternal, will have a hard time

getting used to loss, Maya. My advice

is to get off the couch as much as you can,

dry the plates being washed in the kitchen,

hear the timber of his or her voice so one day

you can recall it when it's fallen.