Driving home from attending a college football game, I traveled with my kids, who had spent the day with a set of grandparents, back to our home city. My daughter was asleep in the backseat, iPod touch probably still playing. My son was playing a word game on his Nintendo DSi XL. I had finished with listening to the football post-game show on the radio, and had switched to an iPod playlist of authors reading their own work. To the sound of Anne Sexton reading poems on the car stereo, my son asked me questions about his game.
Had there been a transcript of one particular point, it would have read like this:
Oh, darling! Born in that sweet birthday suit
and having owned it and known it for so long,
now you must watch high noon enter--
[Son: "Papa, what's a word for a food that needs sauce?" Me: "Barbecue, maybe?"]
noon, that ghost hour.
Oh, funny little girl--this one under a blueberry sky,
[Son: "It doesn't work." Me: "How about spaghetti?" Son: "How do you spell 'spaghetti'?" Me: "S-p-a-g-h-e-t-t-i." Son: "That works!"]
this one! How can I say that I've known
just what you know and just where you are?
It's not a strange place, this odd home
[Son: "Papa, how do you spell 'weight'?" Me: "Like in, heavy?" Son: "Yes." Me: "W-e-i-g-h-t."]
where your face sits in my hand
so full of distance,
so full of its immediate fever.