Lean in close, let me tell you a tale
Akahito c. 730 A.D.
from: One Hundred Poems From The Japanese
translated by Kenneth Rexroth
My son leans into my side
as close as an elm growing into a home.
His skinny arms push into my biceps
knead my muscles, stiffen my spine
as my feet root us to the ground.
Day after day, sun rise to moon rise,
reading books, scratching out the alphabet,
counting the stars on his bedroom ceiling,
leaning, always leaning, pushing near enough
to climb inside my bones and walk away.
They say it is a symptom.
They say his senses are off, incomplete, awry.
He is seeking sensory input, filling a void.
My son is a sapling, not suckling, but stretching.
I am the host tree, the rough barked mother tree,
coarse, uneven, irregular. I think of him always.
We will grow together, apart, together, apart
following the sun through a dense green canopy.
Until we part.
We will part. The forest would have it no other way.