Ten Things My Children Should Know

Your mothers are amalgams of altruist ends all stitched together to braid you into the best you can be.

As for me, your shadow who clothes you with the difference between sun and cloudy days- there are children who can never look at the ground

the same way.

Love is a plane in the sky
turbulence and cross
Atlantic nights

because we’ve all got those
destinations in mind.

I will never love one of
you more
than another;

as autumn’s always trumped
summer in beauty
and winter
crumbles dutifully to
every spring

you all differ in wingspans
but have been taught to
dance with
the ground.

I was grandfathered into squalor but never will you be; that man in absentia dies when he leaves you sleeping in your bed, and no small kiss on your head will ever conjure

his memory.

You are the entities
I’m sworn to protect,
to help build you into
something that amounts to

more than
a debt,

and there will come a point I’ve got
to let you fly away.

(Forgive me then, if
I’m slow to comply.)

Seven is the luckiest number but also highest-risk;
happiness the easiest emotion but also
easiest missed.

Fear does not
stop death, it only stops living,
and I’ve been considering
never making
the introductions.

But it’s my job to teach your
anger function and
hunger restraint,
ground your pain in possibility

and god willing,

spare you
shame I wasted decades on.

Take care of each other
as brothers and sisters ought to
because when we’re gone,

(protectors of

dreams and
dissent)

that poem you read all those
years ago is all

you’ll have left of me.

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