Shield

By Kathleen Flenniken

There’s little I can pack for you, no lucky charm
or incantation, only years and years of daily instruction

I hope you’ve heard. I’ll be the waving hand
and hesitation in the window, then I end

and the road begins. If you grow lonely for me,
rest your cheek on the breast of a gold grass hill

or the breast of a sand dune erased and rewritten
by the wind, look for the shape of me in an ocean swell

and decide that’s all you need,
and I’ll imagine the trinkets you leave behind

as a quieter version of you. If I can.
And with my long arm raise my shield,

larger than any moon, shining
because I’ve polished it in my mind

since before you were born.