This is my moon, he insists, while holding your hand, every time he places his paw in yours, you worry that someday he won’t want to do this. Tomorrow night, you can have the moon. You agree, he can have today’s, yours can be another. Did someone cut it to be a crescent, using scissors very carefully? He loves the shape-word crescent, another Montessori-ism, like “peaceful hands,” and “work.” You explain how the moon is still whole but we can’t see it, we have to suspend our belief you hear yourself saying to a four year-old. Like when I know there is a bottom of the bathtub under all the bubbles? Yes, exactly. You almost say, like yesterday in the emergency room, when we had to have faith you’d be just fine. Instead, you say, like what the nurse said when you asked me why you couldn’t stop crying. He nods, she said it takes a long long time to get rid of all the tears after such a big scare. He hands you the pit of his apricot — I’m not crying anymore! — and runs ahead. You call after him as he races to your gate, thanks for the slimy seed. He is a speeding little-boy shape in the dusk — while you hang back, questioning if you’ve cried enough of your own scare out.
Earn his silence as he snuggles, close, toothpaste breath on your cheek, small bare chest along yours. Hands finally not busy. Hands finally not in mischief. Point to the circles, Fall Cankerworm, Milkweed Bug, Mourning Cloak. Tell him, egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, moth. Hear him as he asks, why does it do that, over and over and over and over and over again? Feel his knees with one hand, strong hinges that hold together the endless energy of his legs. Avoid the bandage, the three stitches. Answer: they cycle, just like people, like you. Kiss his shampooed head. Read about stag beetles, larva. Draw on his chest, Baby, man, dad, baby, man, dad. He breathes in your ear, only mamas have babies. Read until his eyes droop, satisfied he’s set you straight.