Earlier tonight I put you to bed mad.
You called me “a little—” and did not finish,
and you threw a basketball.
I was mad, too—mad as a child
and didn’t pray with you or kiss your
silk arms as I always do. Just a jaw-clenched
goodnight and a flick of the switch.
Just now I went back in. I know
I shouldn’t let the sun go down on
my anger. Or is it grief? I don’t
know, but I came in softly, a slow turn
of the knob so the closer clears.
I felt my way to you in the dense dark,
a pile of sundry kid blankets warmed
by your body heat. And I kissed
where I knew you were.
You’ll never know that kiss,
unless God affords us a register
of such quiet things in the file
cabinet of our souls.
What I do hope you know, my
beloved boy, is that seven year
old boys need God’s grace just
like their 35 year old dads who
are still trying to figure this
fatherhood thing out.