Published with Impspired Literary Magazine January 2020
When you were brand new
my arms aching from the lack of armrests
on the chairs in the hospital
where I held you like a truth that was undefinable
and it was not permissible to entertain
the greatest of doubts or wish I could
consume the stars with you
rather than with ferocity scold a nurse
for suggesting that I leave you with her
to insert an IV in your head
after she had missed five veins
The bunnies on her uniform seemed misleading
and the driest air I had ever breathed
could not escape the anonymously staring
windows screenless and suffocating.
When you were less new
and more weatherworn you came
thundering into the tent
after hiking for hours
the scent of wet grass, fire, and freedom
burning in you like a solar wind needing
to blow to eternity with every tale to tell
until you were calm with sleep.
I thought that none of us were the same
people we were when this thing started.
Doctors said you would be better by 6 months,
fine by 18 months
their distance mounting like a tempest
in search of fair weather. One even
accused me. And I let her make off with my
compass. For a while.
In the glow of the dewy moon
the tent heavy with the 3 am sighing of
your safe slumber and to the warning calls
of coyotes I claimed it back.
When you were growing old
the water hung in the night sky
half snow half ice shooting tendrils
of starbursts slicing straight up
into the blackness like the unsheathed
sword of Masamune shining with
superior beauty and purity
hovering above the lights on the slopes
where you pounded the powder
edges dug in deep. Everyone said
they had never seen such a phenomenon
faces in their phones
fingers frantically flying over search engines
needing to know if this thing
had been named. I knew it was you though,
katana manifested by Sephiroth at will
but sheathed during peace times and
carried with the strength of a thousand warriors.
My skyward gaze held my frozen tears.
Before there was Google and removal
of fine hair like cacti spines from the hand
of a toddler was not a chapter in
What to Expect from World Touchers
when the scent of your hair clung to my heart
when every song was you stirring in my soul
when I didn’t flinch in the nights
long with anxiety and wakefulness
I knew you when you could not. As you
intruded on the world full of spirited dashing
flying off basement stairs into lands of
pillows gorgeous cardboard wings
dauntless and declaring
thoroughly insistent in your protestations
launching fearlessly in your certainty
I admired you.
When you step into this world
casting about for a hold
lifting your voice
I disband my army of uncertainty
In favor of no single interpretation
of you and with no warnings to heed
the stab of such infinitesimally hard to remove
barbs on the cacti of life.
Carry tweezers, my son.