We were unprepared for the pain of this last
Leave-taking. She’s fifty-two now: you’d think
We’d learned to let her go, slip into our past—
A past so huge that the now is but a blink:
Just a drop in that pool heading down the sink
And leaving us smaller, stranded, held here fast.

Covid returned her, reversing the clock
And installing romance: her childhood came back—
Our lives bloomed again, undoing the lock
That is ongoing time, and turning our lack
Into largesse, restoring our stock.

Your child is your child, whatever her age.
With her this year, we escaped the cage
Of our eighty years, we slipped through the bars,
And the night all about us brightened with stars.

Can this rebirth last? Of course it cannot.
But the miracle is, it happened at all.
Time will return, no eluding its pall,
No fountain of youth, no outwitting our lot.
We’ll pass as we must, in time’s forward swell,
Yet we’ve been blessed: it goes backwards as well.