By Fred Dale

Cooling in your new air,
you were handed to me
as the mechanism
of your life was just
catching on.

And though that time
might only be a curl
of grass in your mind,
occasionally you’ve
returned to these
hands, like the night 

you fell asleep on my
lap. Over-grown for
that, your tiredness, at
age nine, nevertheless
siphoned instinct: Here
is recognition, a place
to be placed.  

I thought, then, to close
my eyes with you,
and look longer into all
this, recall a time where
you won’t be.

One day, overcome too
by age, I’ll fall
asleep in a room where
people will quietly
move past, not as eager,
or obligated to hold me.   

I can’t expect you there.  
That will be the moment
of our crisis returned,
that began in another room.

I held you because your
mother handed you to me.