It was all darkness and toddler

beating me from my sleep

with crashes and splashes and bumps

and the sweetest kisses too

that’s a major advantage over before woken by a dog

with her sharp scratches and drenching tongue

it was still dark

I couldn’t see a thing

I had to pee

I wriggled my way out from under the soon-to-be-4-year-old

he kissed me and told me he loved me

I saw it was 7 already

again- I sighed

and made my way back to the couch

where he was giggling

at some historic antic

now lost forever

“are you making jokes?”

yes, daddy

epitome of chipper

and joy

I can recognize that in him

and his sister

like I can see the ocean’s waves

from the chalky sand of the beach

I can notice the salt smell

only because it is not home

when we return

the house always has a smell,

when we are gone

the smiles haunt us

and sometimes we cannot envision the things most dear

we miss them

I can’t tell you what my home smells like

or my car

or me

I can barely notice my mood

until it is held to the light or the fire

of discontent, or craving

but not this toddler

he is at home


in joy, in laughing and singing

in concentration

in frustration and anger and loudness

in sleep in dreaming

it is all that there is

and I hope my love is the current

giving him buoyancy

like his does for me



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