My grandson’s mantra
after seeing the wave-tossed cradle
of a baby lost in a storm in the movie
The Secret of Roan Inish,
was, Who will rescue the baby?
We cued up the end of the film
to try to ameliorate his real concern
by explaining the boy on screen,
just a bit bigger than he himself
was the baby grown, rescued
by his mother, a selkie,* who led him
back to his human family that nestled
him in a blanket and fed him soup.
Shortly thereafter my grandson’s father
overheard him whispering into a box
that housed his plastic tiger,
I’ll take care of you. And so he does
with blanket and thimble of soup.
*selkie = a Celtic mythological creature
that is both human and seal
Don’t tell my grandson I’ve gone to sleep.
He might be afraid to sleep at night, might
worry he’ll disappear and not come back.
Small children with few exceptions are
literalists, and The Big Sleep doesn’t
work for them as it might for us. Tell him
the truth: I’m gone, but the love I had
and have remains forever. Tell him that
and wherever I am, I will follow through
”on a wing and a prayer.” I know it’s true
and pass it on through you, to him at two.
for my grandson, Ezra
A monk in a hairshirt is no surprise,
but how much more on a three-year-old
who in a moment of love for his nenna
secreted a bracelet in his slipper, from
his day care center as gift for her and
trod upon for a whole day. Did the plastic
beads dig into his tender foot? Did the five
little piggies squeal and ouch? The answer
lost in that day’s history is found
in the bracelet itself, hung over the sink
in his nenna’s kitchen where she washes
dishes beneath the glow of the pink halo
hanging there. Beyond penance, beyond
pain, this bit of chosen love shines forever.