Children making a list of the kinds of love will say
“doggie love” and “love of flying” and “pizza love”
and even “love of colors,” “love of money,”
and I knew that when I started the exercise with
a roomful of eight-year-olds typing along
to the scratch of my scented marker
on the sheet of roll paper taped to the wall.

The list got beautifully long, like a banana flower.

After the workshop, they all
skipped out of the room to their parents,
and I wrote “parents’ love” in a bit of free space near the top.
My intern looked embarrassed when I said,
“Maybe it’s better that they don’t know.”
No one can see what ball of fire
holds them tight.

A. Anupama is a poet, critic, essayist, and translator whose work has appeared in Waxwing, Numéro Cinq, and elsewhere. She is an adjunct at Ramapo College, director of River River Writers Circle (RiverRiver.org), and instructor for young creatives at Writopia Lab. Recent honors include a fellowship at the Center for Book Arts in NYC. Anupama lives in Nyack, New York. Seranam.com.