She raises a tiny preschool fist,
hair in a tussle, pajamas wrinkled, pinky extended
and, you know what I think of,
what any dad would think of,
Otto Von Bismarck.
That Great German Statesman and Machiavellian genius.
I think of Bismarck in that silly World War One spiked helmet.
I think of Bismarck’s unbreakable warrior oath of blood and iron as I stare at my daughter’s extended pinky.
Barely a week before, she asked my wife,
“Is Dad dead?”
“No honey,” my wife said. “He’s just been working late.”
“Well that’s good!” My daughter exclaimed,
Been working long and hard.
Evening meetings, you know.
Clients to please and IRAs to fund.
The jack-booted tramp of my children’s college tuition marching ever closer.
So now, as I stand, work bag in hand.
“Dad, will you be home tonight?”
And I just know Bismarck looked like this when he was four,
in his PJs and miniature spiked helmet.
“Yes sweetie, I will.”
“Pinky promise?” She smiles.
Our pinkies’ clasp, our pledge of blood and iron that would make Bismarck weep with envy.