by Aasthap dsc Wikimedia Commons
"Does your hand hurt, daddy?"
“Nah, I know something stronger than pain,” he says,
snow on his shoulders and fat, green boots,
frost in his mustache. He leans down.
“I know a power bigger than me,
that fills me up, pumps my heart,
wakes me in the morning, works me through sickness,
keeps me cool in the screams of summer,
warms me as I gather icicles off cars.”
He laughs, kneels, and stretches his arms
as the two leap forward for a hug.
The oldest, the boy in the red and blue,
yikes in his ear and shouts,
“You’re cold, daddy!”
“I don’t feel it,” daddy replies. He lifts.
He laughs. “Oh! You’re getting big!”
The little girl in purple puts her fingers to his mouth
to still his foolishness, to command him.
“I small,” she says. “You big, daddy. You.”
Yowls of disappointment as he sets them down,
takes them by the hands. He holds the girl with one finger,
winces when she squeezes his sprain.
“I’m small, too," he says. "But I have a power
that makes me a giant! It lets me carry mommy
as she carries you. It keeps me going
when the morning sky is dark and my eyes are full of sand,
when fever racks me, when I think of my wage slave jobs
and almost fall apart. When my bones grind to ash,
I will still have strength. I can look at you and
summon the power to grow again.”
The boy stares at the piles of shoveled snow.
He smiles at the fog of his breath.
At seven he is recently wise, a discerner of facts and fictions,
and so he makes his own secret meanings. He says,
“Everyone can do that, right?”
“You're so smart!" daddy says, hands on hips, both jolly and sad,
"you're practically a giant already.”