Home, I Say
From the wash, I pull a shirt
the size of a dinner napkin,
stretch the opening at the neck
so as not to frighten him
with too long a moment blinded by cloth.
So many mistakes I can make, and I do.
The worst, catching a bit of his skin
between the locked halves of a snap.
Cries can be stoppered most times
by the sudden milk my body makes,
suck and swallow the only sound
beside the rhythmic thump of our chair.
Blue eyes drinking me in, I feel
compelled to name things for him.
Window and bear. Sunlight and reading lamp.
“Home,” I say, as though this place
is not a splintered boat.
And, “Daddy,” as though this person
is not already taking leave.