I learned today that I must never have three children.
One is enough to pour your entire love in to like
pear nectar in to an empty glass.
Two can become allies,
a shoulder to weep upon at your funeral.
But three? Never three.
There are not enough hands for three,
not enough legs or hours in a day.
With three there are no secrets, no hidden time
to whisper and share privacies. And yet,
with three, it is all too easy for
a secret, once planted
to grow into all the crannies of your divided attention,
your blameless neglect. It can fertilize and
stretch, to swallow up one while the others are tended to.
With three, you may turn around
one day and find you only have two left.
And children should never be a subtraction lesson.
It is possible to love three.
The princess with black hair clipped short so as
not to become tangled in her wild day dreams.
The thinker, ruminating on too many problems,
who is frightened of other boys, who scares you a little.
And the tiny baby who can be reasoned with,
who’s hair is the color of a moth’s wing,
who will love you if you listen.
Yes, I can love them, each alone, but
they must never be mine.
It is a good thing to know
so young in a life, like
an allergy or a fear.
Knowing will keep me alive.
And I know I must never have three.
more by NOELLE CURRIE
photograph by Piotr Mamnaimie