10 August 2014

The book we both will write forever

Father, Insect

                      by Nick Flynn

After her
bath, as a way to apologize for all

my imperfections, I remind my
daughter, You know, before you were

born, I was not

a father. She takes this in
silently, moving a tiny blue elephant across

the carpet. If you weren't a father, she
eventually asks, then what were you --

a bug? We'd been looking at picture
of cavemen, talking

about evolution, about where we
came from, about all those

who came before -- Are they us?
she asks. I

told her about the carbon in her
pencil, about hydrogen bonding

with oxygen, about bacteria with
only one thought in their tiny

heads -- she

used her finger to write it all out
in the air, creating each

word as I spoke it. When
did want become more

than hunger, when

did need become more
than shadow? Ecclesiastes warns

about the making

of books, of which there is no end,
this chain of meaning, this

offering -- the book we both will write
today into forever.  

From American Poetry Review, May/June 2014.

1 comment:

  1. I can imagine this moment. I have had a few moments like that with my daughter--who's busy writing her books two thousand miles away from me.


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