You are there and I am here

wendy booydegraaff  
When you were tiny, you walked around in your mini-me
jeans and red t-shirt and talked in your sweet small voice.
“Outside,” “Outside,” you’d say while you stared out
the window beside the front door. The outside is a healer—
not a fixer, a healer—a healer that washes over and says
things will continue despite me and you, as branches
break and blossoms brown after the late frost but closely
closely, see the green leaf buds underneath. Tell me, who
decided the white blossoms were more precious than green

leaves? What about the brown petals? We biked that fall, not
long ago, when the maple leaves littered the path. Outside,
outside.       I’m scared you’ve inherited something from me
I don’t want you to have. So I give you this in addition, this memory
of multi-pointed leaves glistening layers of brown, orange yellow

yellow yellow.       And another time we biked, remember, along-
side the highway, pinecones from our yard in our baskets which we
threw and threw and threw, the promise of little spruce glinting
in our eyes, a forest, we want a forest there and there and there. Outside.
Outside.       You have a switch. Flip it. Not to say that sadness
is bad, it has its place, it’s necessary to see the world this way and then
the other way and all the flowingness in between. The outside is a teacher—
not a preacher, a teacher—that shows us how to go on, just breathe
and go on. Things change without changing. Outside, outside.



Author Bio 

Wendy BooydeGraaff’s poems have been included in The ShoreSlantAbout Place Journal, 
Plainsongs, and elsewhereShe is the author of Salad Pie (Chicago Review Press/Ripple Grove 
Press), a children’s picture book. Born and raised in Ontario, Canada, she now lives in Michigan, 
United States. Find her at or @BooyTweets.