Holding Oliver

I remember as a young father
holding little Daniel,
only months out of the swimming darkness,
late nights, early mornings,
feeling like a pitcher poured out,
incredulous that he was not as sleepy as I,
holding him as he wrestled with the dark
and stayed awake, I wrestling with the dark
and not staying awake, staggering
up and down the hallway, or half-slumbering
in the wooden rocker, waiting for rest
for both of us,
wondering if I'd live through it.

Awakening me before dawn,
playing at nothing,

his son holds me against the strange dark,
holds me, soothing:
Don't worry Grandpop,
you will die,
and I will go on.

―May 7, 2018