When you two were small, Alyssa, Jen,
you would creep into my bed on Saturday mornings
knowing that I was only pretending to snore,
feigning a metrical snooze, and you were virtuosi,
both of you, at tickling, wishing nothing more
than to be grabbed, and trapped and tucked in, tight,
to be held as no man would ever hold you again,
with such innocence, such fierce sanctuary
against this world, a coddling of bones and skin,
and your hands curled in girlish reflex into mine,
and your braids blazing and light as angel hair,
and your baby bodies shifting like angels flying
through the vaulted gates of a cathedral.
And then I would get up, do Daddy Breakfast,
Vivaldi or Elvis or Zeppelin in the background.
This is my quiet vote against an unyielding progress.
It is an autumn morning, now, thirty years are gone,
and last night, for my birthday, my wife and I
listened to Vivaldi interpret autumn for us.
I thought of how far off you are, the two of you,
how far off the sacrament of those mornings.
The orchestra was only thirty-two strong, but
thirty-two virtuosi plying their trades. Their music
lifted them, lifted us. Like angels flying.
Bruce Sager lives in Westminster, Maryland, USA. His work has won poetry competitions judged by Billy Collins, Dick Allen and William Stafford. Currently available through Amazon: Famous, winner of the William Matthews Poetry Prize.
Forthcoming from Hyperborea Publishing, Ontario: TAU (poetry) and Hoby Blue Banks in Exactly 1,000 Words, More or Less (short stories); forthcoming from BrickHouse Books, Baltimore: What Language Would Please Its Ear? and Swale (both poetry).