The Language of Try

I remember
backseat pillow kingdoms
hours, hours on the grey unrolling Coquihalla
the radio switching tongues as we climbed further,
the front seat level lowering with the sun, soon
near-whispers with the
headlights.

Robyn, the ever-choosy, would push against sleep
stubborn fists against a noiseless boulder, a loud war
and louder surrender to
heavy eyelids.

Me,
I could fall asleep anywhere,

the back patio at Hounddog
the picnic blanket at Boundary Bay
the patch of sunlight on
the living room floor
at Seagull.

Sleep became a lens to love through,
for us.

As we stepped through our years
we crafted etiquette
to waking someone:

soft voice
no sudden movements
no big questions

just slowing the world down to
their pace
while they regain the speed to
join it: an offer of coffee, or to be the Snooze
I’ll be back in a few
no hurry, no rush,
I love you.

Is this fatherhood?
A wish to slow the speed of life
to meet us? An arming, as we rise from our beds,
to keep from growing too quickly
into shoes, noises, traffic
that will jar us? Scrape the knees of
our once-toddler hope?

If not, then daughterhood.
A language of try.
Of meet, of match,
of an offer of pinkies at the crosswalk
and to always, always be gentle
as we move through the every,
the new,
the next,

together.

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