OLIVER LEAMY (10 MONTHS OLD) SPENDING THE MORNING
WAVING A RED SOCK
Come on, try saying it without crooning—
He’s certainly a baby—a splendid example of his genre—
Downy-blond, fuzzy-clad, toothless, and balloon-animal-limbed.
The truth is I’ve been dying to write, to find enough words
to wrap around how swamped I am by him,
how my real heart, which I’d have sworn was wide open waiting,
got shoved more open than should be possible
by the first sight of his big, translucent, luminous head
in the crook of his father’s arm.
Already we talk about “He used to (love to sleep with
his face turned into the crook of someone’s arm, breathing
his own small breaths; not take his hats off).”
Today he spent the morning waving the red sock he’d taken off
(he used to leave them on, too) his pudgy foot.
Over and over, off and on, for hours.
And I thought of Englishwomen wearing red ribbons around their necks
to mock guillotined French aristocrats,
red scarves worn by men (like Hemingway) running the bulls in Pamplona,
the red come-and-get-it petticoats of dancers at the Moulin Rouge,
Williams’s red wheelbarrow.
He smiled as he waved the sock, grinned so hard
his head dropped back as if to make room for such a smile.
Surely he wanted to understand something about the sock,
or waving the sock, or waving something red.
—from Rattle #39, Spring 2013
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