This poem was inspired from a question asked to me by my father-in-law. Some time ago he asked me if I was happy. He was referring to my marriage with his son and the life we have built together. I answered a simple yes but have always been haunted by that answer. How do you put the emotions of happiness into words? Yes does not seem to do justice. Yes, beyond my dreams still doesn’t do it. Here is my answer. It still seems too simple but it is what I can muster. To my father-in-law, you have raised a good son who puts his family first. I am loved and protected. To my husband, thank you. (Again, I cannot figure out how to separate paragraphs so spacing is off.)
He goes about his day on an axis,
a slight tilt as if to correct any misunderstanding of perfectionism.
Work is important.
First job of organs under stress needing immediate attention:
appendix, cancer, gall bladder, thyroid.
Second job of serving his country with a flag on his arm:
teaching, flying, medicine at its moment of highest desperation.
Family is cornerstone.
Sunday picnic at the park with bagels and cream cheese,
helping a frustrated jacket zipper or code brown at bed time,
then air through the hair on their way down the slide,
a smile that spans his big daddy heart.
Sacrifice is accepted.
4 AM alarm and running with a head lamp,
football with a joystick and big screen up front,
lager after hours enjoyed in his slippers,
Email forgotten, perhaps intentionally.
When I ask, Could you put them to bed tonight?
Sure, he replies with fatigue in his eyes.
I settle on the couch ready to lift my feet.
I hear shouting, things falling, both kids are now crying.
Footsteps to the stairs, I hear from above,
Could you please help?
For you, always