My children leave me in January when winter sky covers the fields. Dropped temperatures bundle us into sluggish selves. Frosted windows watch as the world whispers in thickened silence.
My children leave me in January never following the predetermined course of others their age. Not August or September when many return to school. While recent graduates load trailers traveling toward new adventures. And gap year’s youth stuff large backpacks with necessities for discovering the unknown.
But January while I wonder who I am without their daily sounds and smiles. Mourn my womb’s smallness. Never enough to hold them forever, within me, around me, close.
My children leave me in January leaving a scattering of unpaired shoes, balled up socks, and half-read books. Things set down as markers of this place still theirs while they seek something other than here.
My children leave me in January as if coming back. And they do. But each time less to stay than to visit. A gradual reduction of living together as family. Signaling a time almost over for forever. Womb receding, shriveling, sobbing in emptiness.