DAD POEM (The New Temporality)

Joshua Bennett

No poems, not even
one, since the minute
you were born. Now, I live
the thing that was the writing,
more intensely, alongside you
each day. Hours blur,
and are measured
only in feedings, naps
just quick enough to not subtract
from your later dreaming.
Mom & I divide the night
into shifts, dance through the fog
of sleep deficits doctors say
we won’t feel the weight of
until wintertime. So what.
Our home glows
like a field of rushes,
moonlight ensnared
in their flaxen heads.
Most early mornings
with you are mine.
We play the elevator
game and improvise
lyrics, rhyming August
with raucous, florist, flawless.
As I write this, you rest
in a graphite-gray carrier
on my chest, your thinking adorned
with language that obeys no order
my calcified mind can
express. Tomorrow, I will
do the thing where I make my voice
sound like a trombone, and I hope
you like it as much as you did
today. There is no sorrow
I can easily recall. I have
consecrated my life.

Joshua Bennett is a professor of English at Dartmouth. He is the author of four books of poetry and criticism: The Sobbing School, Being Property Once Myself, Owed, and The Study of Human Life.
Originally published:
September 20, 2021

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