Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I knew this would happen. I found this poem on of my blog posts from six years ago and couldn't leave it alone. So this version is different from the original posted one. I can't remember which poet said this (Donald Hall?) but poems are never finished; they are merely abandoned.

by Kevin Cahill

Bedtime brings decisions,
sometimes it is the red velvet dress,
but it can just as easily be
the taffeta number with puffy sleeves,
or the flowery one with shoulder straps.

And that’s not all -
I tell him that he has to take off
the ballet slippers or the black taps
or the clear plastic pumps
because nobody wears shoes to bed -

nobody,  not even his big sister,
who is already down to her underwear.
He will follow suit, but first
he raises his ever-handy plastic sword,
he is the very picture of liberty herself.

Later on,  in bed alongside my son,
I regard the way his hands clutch my wrist
hard on his naked chest, soft on his cheek.

I hardly know my own hand;
it looks dismembered and disowned;
it looks too large against him;
it looks like some veined talisman,
and his small hands holding it
and me look nothing like my own.

Bedtime brings decisions;
I shift nearer the edge,
the springs groan,
his eyes remain closed, but
he squeezes  hard, pinning my wrist
hard to his heart as if to ask
where do you think you’re going?



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