by Marc Hudson
When the doctors told me you might not have a mind,
I thought of all those fathers
who carried their babies up into the mountains
and imagined carrying you through the grove of cottonwoods
at the mouth of Panama Canyon
and, higher, through airy tracts of ponderosa
where the soil is a bronze fragrance of fallen needles
until we emerge in the clear light
under a cliff face. I would kneel and kiss
your forehead and lay you in your purple blanket
in the talus, in the frost of early evening,
So those fathers took care of their own.
There was no place for a boy
such as you, no place at the fire
for a twisted one. And the father, I suppose,
made the decision.
Often, in those first months of your life,
I would lift you up in my arms
to weigh who you were
and the monster I might become.
Then, slowly, deliberately,
as if calibrating a moral instrument,
I would lower you back into your crib.
I would tuck the comforter around your shoulders,
very carefully I would kiss your forehead.
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