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I was teaching him words in the backyard
a light, carefree beginning to
hoping that someday he realizes
the power they possess

and he was learning to feel
with awareness
and names
he’d try his best to pronounce

“Moon,” I said,
pointing to the third quarter
cutout of light on the dusty blue sky
as the sun glowed its last
from beneath the rooftops

“Moon,” he repeated,
getting on his little feet
and bravely holding up his little hand
to try to wrap his fingers
around that gibbous thumbprint
of things nocturnal, an unknown world
ushered in by lightning bugs

he tried again a few times
on tiptoes and with outstretched arms
to close the distance
between himself and this symbol
for a new word that he might
add to his small square tin box
of possessions, along with
“pen” and “car” and “triangle”
and “sleep” and “hug”

(that will hopefully take years
before including “struggle”
and “fail” and “never”)

before sitting back down
on the edge of the now shadow-painted
wooden deck, holding his curiosity,
now edged in sadness, to his chest,
his eyes still fixed on the unreachable
saying “moon, moon” to himself
so he won’t forget

and “Mama”

and all the while I was wishing
I had the power to lift him
high enough
to let him grasp
the bright and beautiful mysteries
found in his many skies
and know firsthand to tell apart
luminescence, reflection
and perpetual fire
.

el-loco-vini-by-pablo-reinsch
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“El Loco Vini” by photographer Pablo Reinsch

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