At Last I Can Start Suffering
by Charles Rammelkamp

“At last I can start suffering,” I joked,
channeling Cosmo Brown in Singin’ in the Rain,
when he thinks he’s lost his job,
“and write that symphony.”

My daughter had just broken the news:
our granddaughter, whom we’d been babysitting
for the last nine months,
was going to start attending daycare
so she could learn to be with other children.

I hadn’t really noticed until then,
but I’d become quite attached to her
baby’s sunny wonderment, her delight,
reaching her arms out to be lifted,
falling asleep on my lap, like a cat.

Not since my daughters left home for college,
more than a decade ago,
had I had such a sense of wistful loss,
not even when my mother and twin brother died.

But I’d adjusted, hadn’t I?
This, too, would become “normal.”
My writing had taken a hit, it’s true,
not that I particularly minded,
but now at least I can write that symphony.

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