In the gospel according to children
Love is a sentence containing a logic no syntax can trace—
Mom throwing parties just to ruin them,
Dad blaming everyone but himself.
You remember it, don’t you—
Riding your bike past the city’s edge
Into marshlands you thought were protected.
Deep in the grass a box labeled PLOT.
From that point on did you want them to acknowledge you
Or leave you alone with your paper boats
Inspired by birds so tired of performing—
Wind buffets the mylar balloon trapped
In the neighbor’s red maple.
Am I closer to the sentence than I am to Kisha?
My daughter asks why elk pee on themselves.
They found a logic, I say. Like Nero,
My son says. To light his parties
He burned his own people as lanterns.
My daughter dreamed I used the vacuum hose
To suck the sentence from my eye.
In my notebook I write: the female figure
My father sculpted props up
A succulent too large for its pot.
Daddy, my daughter says,
When are you going to stop?
She’s building a spaceship large enough to carry her
And her toy horse to a planet
Immune to the sentence. My son warns
Of nebula. What’s that, she says.
From earth it looks like a bright patch in the night sky.
But what’s it look like from space?
My son turns away. My daughter closes the hatch
Over the horse’s head. Stay safe, she says.
Take a sentence of a dozen words. Take
Twelve men and tell to each
One word. Stand the men in a row…
Let each think of their word
As intently as they will; nowhere will there be
A consciousness of the whole sentence.
My daughter and I eat lunch at the kitchen table.
My son reads in his room, Kisha is on campus.
The semester has just ended—not even
The radio is playing.
How do you hold mom’s hand? my daughter says.
Like this? Our fingers interlace.
Or like this—