I don’t really know what you call your wife’s cousin’s child – maybe my nephousinlaw. Whatever he’s called, he’s about a year old I guess and sleeping upstairs right now. He gave me a remiracle tonight, or at least let me live inside the memory of an old one, when he fell asleep easily on my chest. It’s the kind of thing that turns you into the kind of person that you don’t show too much in public. And it reminded me of when I wrote this poem after one of the last times my own son (at least I know what to call that one) fell asleep while I sat there, staring down at his face in a chair in a dim but brilliant corner of the room:
Originally written Dec 2011
The boy adrift in outer space alone –
His hairless pate in a glassy dome.
The awe, the joy, the dreaming soul.
A six-tooth smile in a barrel roll.
While his hands still search and his toes still curl,
Half in, half out of his old man’s world,
The half that’s in heaves a sigh at me,
The half that’s gone starts its reverie.
And with that I guess he’s in the stars,
Using them like monkey bars
To swing amidst the giant rows
While the library of his dreaming grows.
And once it’s up he’ll float about
In no great hurry to be picking out
His stories or his nursery rhymes;
He knows his night’s not bound by time.
He bobs on past hoar-frosted shelves,
And a hall that holds a copse of elves.
With a languid pull he moves along,
To the fantasy he’ll settle on.
I’ve always imagined him like this,
Giggling through the stacks in bliss.
The length and breadth of innocent whim,
His snickers and kicks propelling him.
Now in my arms he’s settled more,
But he shifts a bit one time before
His searching hand tugs on my nose –
He’s grabbed a dream, and off he goes.