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Open Arms

My son Jadon
Two years old
Climbs into my lap
Like he owns the place.

Like how you walk
Right into your own house
Or put on your own clothes
Or open your own bag of chips.

The audacity of going home.

The boldness of acceptance,
Of knowing you are loved
And welcomed.

Makes himself cozy,
Inserts his pointer finger
Into his mouth, and just
Breathes. Staring up at me.

Absorbing my face
With his brown eyes.

Chest rising and falling
Rising and falling.
A language between us.

No questions.

Sometimes he just likes
To be with me.
Not saying anything.
Not doing anything.

Just beholding the face that loves him.

And I welcome this.
In fact, I love this. I love
What he knows, what
He doesn’t know. His
Audacity. Simplicity.

He’s innocent. He doesn’t yet know
The sting of arms closed.
Only these open ones.

And that’s what a father wants:
He wants his son to know.
That daddy loves him,
To know it in his bones,
A constant like sunrise
Or breathing. My love
Is like that to him, I think.
Like breathing. Like the world
Being as he left it, when he
Gets out of bed every morning.

Something you could
Close your eyes
And trust fall back into.

And that gives me joy.
Because I mean him good.

Only good. I’m his father.
Lover of his soul.

And do you think
When my boy is
Grabbing my knees
Pulling himself up
Into my lap,

Do you think
Hell itself could close
My open arms?

To what lengths do you think I would go
To keep this doorway open wide?

Like if the world were on fire
And I were crumbling to cinders
I'd stand with outstretched fingers
As long as I could.

What if God
FEELS like that
About us?

What if the sun
On your face
Is "I love you, son?"

What if His arms
Are open.

Ferocious love
That cannot be broken
By death or distance,

The reality of which this
Love for my son is only a witness?

Can that be?

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