for my Christopher at three


My son at the screen

on a cool day, the sky outside

A dirty pillow of unborn rain.

He presses his large puppy hand,

Then his lips,

To the mesh.

He’ll have no taste of rust,

(Screens are plastic now)

And the air will smell of tide and wet sand.

I’ve come far

To give him this:

A beach where lightning doesn’t live,

A house where fathers don’t hit,

A room where thunderstorms of the soul

Do not send the furniture crashing at night.

His journey may well be back to that,

Though I would convince him of other things-

How counting between the flash and the noise

Can tell you the miles you have run

From the damage done,

And how counting can teach you kindness.

Night is long gone now,

And the mornings here come gray

In the spring.

When he turns

I will tell him

How pretty it can be out there

In the quiet rain.