Soccer Ball

I do not know
how to explain
to the nine-year-old boy
on his birthday
that the world is not
always a soft place
to land.

And so I hold him,
like the day he was born,
until the tears
turn into something else,
perhaps a kind of soft relaxation
into love.

We are all growing up –
even the family of ducks that rides
the river eddy, yellow down
of early spring turned to
the feathered brown of adulthood,
even the tall cattails in the still-water marsh,
even you,
even me.

My words now are like
that broken nest laying in the grass,
both empty and life giving,
and he and I,
delicate
with the possibility
of what may fall.

To my Son, on The First Day That You Care About How Your Hair Looks

I can almost hear it,
the rip-pop of the bubble
that you lived in,

like a birth and
like a death,
as the inside air

rushes out
and the outside air
rushes in.

And now,
you see everything.
But please

don’t forget
the way that you
were born to see.

Like a crystal vase,
like an honest face,
you are

the morning.
Carve your place
in the sky,

no matter
who is watching,
and write your name

with your heart
each day, as sure as
the abundant sun

with warmth,
generosity,
and love uninhibited.

Drop Off

Two boys
lean against

the brick wall
by the entrance

to the school.
He says,

Goodbye for now!

and runs to join them,
leans just like

they do,
boys,

observing
the opening

world. The yellow sun
flashes round

his ruffled
silhouette,

still flavored with
the sleep of morning –

and my eyes,
they cannot see

if he looks
little still,

or almost
grown.