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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

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