Your milk-fattened fingers, sticky with joy, dirty the fold
of my shirt, and you squirm, unaware that you might be dropped.
Twice now you’ve made me panic thinking I’d lost my hold
on your wriggling belly when your head suddenly flopped
to one side. Little One, I am not worthy of such trust;
neglect will bruise, my tongue will break, my thoughts betray or worse.
When you learn who I am, remember that I am but dust.
When you grow old, bless me, though I may then deserve your curse.

For your smile, both my mirth and madness rouse.
Love, you are the only one that I sing to
and for Love I would chain myself with vows.
But I fail, and will finally fail you.
I wonder if Jephthah ever held his daughter in his arms
and promised her with song that she’d never come to harm.


Other poems on Moss Kingdom about parenting: The IceboxThere are Moments that Poems are Unworthy OfThe Only One I Sing To