Tucking in your toes.
You seem anything but at ease,
pushing your hair here and there.
I can see sweat accumulating on your nose
and imagine there is much more beyond my sight.
Just like me. In the night. As a boy.
Afraid of being the only one awake.
Little girl, relax.
My mother told me this:
“Begin with your toes; end with your eyes.
Tell them all to sleep. Tell them this:
To cease to quiver/to no longer shake.”
I tickle your toes and you squirm.
My mistake. Already past your bedtime.
[Considering these conversations
as if in my parental prime].
A daughter tugging at her father’s coat;
my imagination, let’s go.
But no, not me now, just you.
Chasing the monsters away one-by-one.
Or making them material, comical or cute.
Watching your lids grow heavy.
In your dreams, you can pretend I am a hero.
In reality, I am, as the majority, average.
But you think I am much more-
I love you for your naivete.
And I’ll love you in ways I cannot now say.