"The Kid" (a poem)
My husband is reading a bedtime story to the kid,
that eight-year-old who sneaks up behind me
and puts his hands on my face
I'm the kid's favorite, see.
He says he wants to be my baby forever,
that he's going to dig up some magic dust
so he can stay mine till he's a little old man.
After dinner tonight I asked the kid
why he was so sweet to me,
if he loved me
or if he loved making his daddy jealous.
"Both!" he laughed.
Then he crawled up in my lap,
and kissed my cheeks, and winked at his papa.
"I've got your girl!" he says. A taunt.
"And I love you more than any momma I've ever had,"
he said, not knowing how that hit me in the gut
because his first momma left him in a bathroom,
and I can't imagine how terrible that was for her,
or what it was like to lose everything I've gained.
Her brave boy, my brave boy,
has stretched out into his new life with such gusto
that I forget about his beginning.
There are no seams.
He smells like mine, and laughs like mine,
thinks like mine, runs in the same grooves as mine,
grooves so deep that tonight we were comparing
family foreheads and I looked at his
to see how it matched.
"You must take after me," I said,
"and your sister takes after your dad."
That kid's been so good for us,
worked his gospel in our place of poverty;
he's been our missionary,
and our patron saint,
held us together like glue during years
when we needed his joy, and his trust, and his love.
Now I hear his daddy working through Narnia,
and thanks to the kid, I think fond thoughts about that old man
who works all day, then helps with the dishes,
who leaves space to read to a boy
instead of flipping on the news.
The kid casts a favorable light,
leaves a trail behind him that I follow day after day,
because I was an orphan once,
until the kid found me
and brought me home.