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Our middle child sings “Jingle Bells! Jingle Bells!”
Well into February when he wakes in his crib
Before his mother and I, his stepfather, have come
To change his diaper and help him into clothes,
And all he has to do is sing. The boy is not my blood
Though “Son” is the only name I have for “He-
Ndee Boy,” “Sweet Inupiaq Boy,” “Sweet-Caroler-
In-The-Morning’s-Half-light,” “My heart beats
Just like yours,” I want to write to him in the half-light
Of the kitchen, “your song seemingly serenading
The sun through the thin walls of this home we share
On 2nd Street, the same sort of blood circulating
Through our systems as daylight filters
Through the invasive hackberries in which the Emperors
Rest their wings, the same sort of blood, Son,
Feeding the same sorts of muscles as a whisper
Of a door opening down the hall halts your singing
Stills your stepfather (who is only doing his best)
In the middle of his next line, the same saline
Solution of tears—no matter the record of massacres
And broken treaties between our peoples’ histories
Brought to our sometimes-green/sometimes-blue
Eyes when the mother we both love in our different ways
Appears in the doorway, just-risen and without-
Coffee, her hair flaming down from the root like heaven…
Like fire…Like heaven-fire. Like life! Like life!”
Copyright 2022 Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum
Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum is an author, editor, & ghostwriter. He is the author of three poetry collections, Fight or Flight, Visiting Hours & Ghost Gear
Wow. Poetry indeed.
Yes, I love Andrew’s poems. Clarity, passion, compassion…
So tender. Thank you
Thank you for that, Andrew.
Thank you, Andrew, for this beautiful, evocative, pensive, gorgeous poem. I love it.
Thanks, David. I do too.