‘after this, let’s get $8 candy apples.’

i said

i think it’s over

she did not turn entirely to face me and said over her shoulder

i’m not leaving yet just in case

i didn’t hear her because the words tangled in her cardigan and were then entirely swallowed by sudden ricocheting booms of the grand finale;

storm of glowing embers over the ferris wheel.

* * *

scarlett

i think that you are perfect

because you are my daughter

and

the fact that like your father

you cannot and will not

sit still but for so long

and

how the sun moves over your face

when we walk or take a drive

and

you choose then to be still

when we are moving, still

because what my daughter wants

a daughter perfectly like me

is company accompanied

with freedom and mobility.

i love the way you push things
your use of leverage is excellent
i love the way you swat your tongue over your lips
when you say ‘mahmahmah’
i love the way you so gently take things into your hands
before smashing said things together with unencumbered joy
i love each and every part of you
shoes strewn about the foyer
remotes lost and found and lost
your tired face your hungry face your chubby face

when you start to sing along

and hold pitch as best you can

head resting on my collarbone

when i am singing you to sleep at night.

i think that you are perfect

i hope of me, you think the same

and feel that way in twenty years

when i’m hobbling and lame

ok, i’ve already got bad knees 
but i don’t let on when we’re crawling 
on the kitchen floor 
in hot pursuit of one another

i think that you are perfect,

a title you will not lose.

i think that you are perfect

something that rhymes with ‘lose.’

love,

dad

* * *

before we go thundering on

you know the moment in a song
we might call it a crescendo but
often she is dressed as a note hovering
above the drop
a snare or bass drum
keeping her afloat

when the listener(s)
who is/are us, by the way
might pause
the slightest anticipatory breath drawn in
bodies tense for the rush to come

the swell of lungs
the swell of space just,
just
before we go thundering on

yes, that’s the moment that i mean
and hope you can identify
and nod and say ‘i know what you mean’

because of course
that is you to me.

* * *

Raleigh & Company will be publishing poetry and short literature regularly. We invite readers and writers to submit contributions to [email protected]

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