The Kiss on Your Forehead
Anitha Devi Pillai
Breathing in the fresh scent
of milk and baby powder,
and tracing your smile with my finger
I raised you to my face and kissed your forehead –
It was my first day as your mother.
I dragged my feet
clutching your backpack and water bottle
and your hand too for some time.
But you were in a rush
and eager to board the mini-van
as I knelt down to kiss your forehead –
It was your first day at school.
The school camp was the hardest.
Did you know I curled up in your bed
under the Harry Potter poster that night?
A trace of your shampoo on the sheets
reminded me of the moment
I bent over to kiss you goodbye.
Once I held you in my arms
my new teen in a battle with his bullies
tears threatening to storm your eyes.
All I could do was to lean over
to kiss your forehead.
It soothed you.
It soothed me.
Last night, I watched you walk off the stage
Award in hand, calm and composed
surrounded by much joy and laughter.
I waited for the pats on your back to stop
and for the crowd to part.
At long last, you came towards me
but at barely an arm’s length
a distant voice called out your name
and drew you away.
Did you know how much
I wanted to tiptoe to kiss your forehead, then?
First published in Poetry Moves: An Anthology of Poetry, 2020