Sweetboy Turns Six

My sunrises are upstaged now; instead -he- beams into my room.

wakie-wakie, daddy.

daddy, who made Canada? how did it get here?
please tell me everything
he emphasizes ‘everything’ with a curving swooping tone
I tell about the natives
how there weren’t any roads
no cars no buildings no ipads
and many many more animals and birds
and they made tents to live in
and canoes out of trees
to go down fast rivers and up slow lakes
and catch all kinds of fishes
and clams and shrimp
Shrimps – his voice brightens
for he loves collecting them at market
yes, shrimps sweetboy
but no supermarkets
they had to find them by themselves
and make their own fires to cook them
like that time we made sausages
on long sticks, in the fire

his eyes and voice so sweetly ardent
I make my religion anew in his communion
what cherished discovery will punctuate this day?
he spies a wild turkey feather from the window
near dusk — which is mysterious and full of scariness for him
yet suddenly, bursting birth of courage
he half asks and half remarks while tossing on a jacket
ok if I can go get it please
out swiftly down the hill before any replies
swooping in on his treasure and holding it up for acclaim
as we peer dumbstruck out the window

or — noticing a neighbor’s girl visiting next door
he’s mood transformed in half a heartbeat
and rushing outside to convene as children do
getting and giving lessons in climbing a willow tree
strangers one destiny-bending instant
egoless playpals the next

or — the week after we watch an old Kung Fu episode together
duly impressed by the idea of walking on rice paper
as a practice for learning to sneak up on things
he bolts out the door with birdseed in hand
and sits yoga still barely two meters from a feeder
while chickadees grab their dinner
and stash away extra for another day behind spruce bark
twenty full minutes unmoving
astonishing me with his sudden patient unswerving will
because maybe a birdie will eat from his quiet gifting palm

he’s in the bathtub, serene
one thousand nights now I’ve sat with him
shea butter ritual, shampoo, rinsing
plastic superheroes and dinosaurs contesting beneath the suds
I could not know how rich this new love would become
neither could I describe it to you now
how he is teacher more often than I

before my own sleeping
a collage of the day’s thinking and feeling
wash over my shoreline
gently lapping usually
till I separate, layered
in regions caricatured by dream fragments
and sanctified in consciousless warm black
integrating 10% if I’m fortunate
while the horizon travels intrepidly
passing four or five zodiacal forms

wakie-wakie, daddy.
beaming irrepressible loveglare
and a speaking more beautiful than music.


[ photo – moi: morning after a freak late October snowfall which inspired Sweetboy to rush outside and roll three spheres into his first unassisted snowman… next day it was 40 degrees F and all melted away except his creation, who got to encounter its first grass and hoofed mammals. ]

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  1. Wow! How beautiful?! How cinematic?! How uplifting?!

    It felt, like I just climbed up the attic..found it..all dusty and hidden..then I just sat there..and watched it till the end.


  2. This is so beautiful. There truly is no other love like this one you describe (says me who’s been up since 6am making origami with my 9 year old son). You described the indescribable.


    1. πŸ™‚ Thank You. I tried that with him too by the way, this year…. showing him how to make cubes you inflate with your breath at final step. Maybe soon I will learn the swan shapes. Thanks muck for writing!


      1. Ahh, yes, those cubes 😊. This morning we made an origami slinky – easy but so time consuming. Those moments with our children are so precious. And your poem is beautiful.

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