never a chance to be conceived,
but always wanted
I offer you this flower,
I see you in my mind's eye,
Redheaded and freckled,
The child who I would have passed down
all those things passed down to me,
mother to daughter,
who would have understood
the sound of my heartbeat,
the touch of my hand
in that way only mothers and daughters do.
But you were the victim
of a love found too late,
of my needing to care for others,
and all those other people
who pulled on me.
You were sacrificed on the altar
of college and career,
being needed to care for other's children,
of feeling called to do the right thing.
And yet, there are moments like now
that I feel your loss,
Daughter who was not meant to be,
and in that sad echoing emptiness in my heart
reserved just for you
I bear the secret wish,
unspoken to husband, parent, brother
that things had been different enough
that I could have held you in my arms.