Oh kids I will love you forever
for making me what I never was
Oh kids I barely listen
through the traffic
I am half awake for whatever you want
I am drinking coffee
trying not to fight with you
over lost boots and not getting dressed
over not fighting over toys
I am working at not sleepwalking
through the language
I am walking around the world for you
Oh kids, I am walking through an Egyptian square
I am walking through management and almanac.
I have gotten tattooes for you.
You make me energy.
You make me want to cry just walking down the street
knowing I have insufficient funds,
knowing in the cold near where the protesters
either miss or waste the point.
Oh kids you make me furnace
make me revolution
make me dream uterine exclamation points
till I want to jump in the next car
and ride it through the slow dissolve,
through the nights we are never ready for,
nights like a cave in
nights that flower and unflower again
or all spill into one
if that can happen.
Can that happen?
There is a night, the last one your uncle spent
the uncle you will never meet,
though somehow we are safe.
We must breathe it in,
the colors and textures of the moments we believe will live forever.
Oh kids, you are a city.
We are spent not nearly enough.
I was pretty sure, then I wasn’t, but I believe
a night rises in our thoughts.
You are off now laughing,
Oh kids, you are all I dream about
for days with your names on my tongue
like stories that story us.
There is a heart we climb from pinprickling
There is so much to ask and needs that need asking.
The night swallows its shapes.
Something flashes in a window on the street.
It overlaps us.
I will take you home now
long before you know home has been here all along.
Matthew Guenette is the author of two full-length poetry collections: American Busboy (University of Akron Press, 2011) and Sudden Anthem (Dream Horse Press, 2008). He lives, works, and loses sleep in Madison, Wisconsin.