i like to hold my little girl
her name is scarlett houston
and sing to her at night
and feel her head grow heavy
and press into my chest
and her sweet and tiny fingers
pinch the fabric of my tshirt sleeve
and she holds on to her daddy
and says ‘bubbles’
or ‘nigh nigh’
at descending levels of volume
until i shush my singing
and say to her i love you
and she knows now is goodnight
and leans from my arms
over her crib and i lower her down
and she collects her blanket and her fox
and her bunny and her thoughts
and says ‘nigh nigh’ again.
the fox slumped in a halfhearted semicircle of patchy fur
once blazing red now limp orange juxtaposed with exposed pink skin.
he gummed at his paws, teeth long since lost in the woods.
the sun came and went day and night.
he kept himself well shaded beneath the earth
and his eyes adjusted to see the dark.
he forgot how to run and hunt.
he did not, however, forget hunger
and she urged him to the surface.
clover parted ‘round him
and he laughed to himself
picturing this broken fox as royalty
and the scent caught him
eyes narrowed and body taut how did this happen where has this been
a coiled spring to explode he has teeth again his mouth is bleeding
blood and life and the miracle bursting through his gums, sharp, white
of instinct his fur blazing red again in the sun
that cannot be forgotten. a rabbit snapped between his jaws
hi as he trots through clover.
today was a hard day, darling.
your daddy did many things
and isn’t entirely sure if he did
of those things as well as he could
or should because
well how on earth do we measure such things
sometimes your daddy feels as if
all he can do is walk into walls while
a door stands open how on earth did he miss it
today, goodness, today was one of those days
lots of up close and personal with drywall
and maybe you noticed because on your way
out of a door you turned to daddy who was on the floor
gathering our legos and you
waltzed in zipped pink cowgirl boots
plunged through scattered remnants of a plastic tower
and flung tiny arms as wide as could be
and i decided to measure this day
in the wingspan of a fox
and her grip around my neck.
today was a great day, darling.
i love you,
we had a baby
which is pretty cool i guess
her name is scarlett
* * *
lemme speak now what i think;
y’all are furlough s***
* * *
’tis most ironic
i so large and you so small
how you keep me safe
a most unlikely pair
blue bird and scarlet fox
one bright and proud
one sly and bold
these two make one;
math be damned.