Six for Gold
When my six year old asks me where
he came from—how he, you know,
got inside my belly, he is swinging a broken
tree branch around in the backyard.
Just swinging to feel the air molecules,
to hear the faint whistle of resistance.
The invisible turbulence satisfies something
for both of us—disturbing what you can’t see.
You were a star I took for my own, I say.
But how does it work, he asks, you know,
getting the star into your belly? I rub
my hands together vigorously and then slowly
pull them apart like a wizard commanding
an invisible orb of commotion. I tell him to try—
keep rubbing your hands, as fast as you can,
and when you are ready, stop—wait
for the energy to arrive between your palms.
He doesn’t know this is just a game, just
our nerves responding to friction. He gently
packs his hands around what he feels, a warm
snowball. I say imagine that energy gathering
into your belly. When you arrived, an old star
collapsed and exploded, and in a huge,
blast you landed inside me. He tosses his secret
ball into the sky—it’s gone somewhere
we will never find. Like gold crashing into a rock,
or sinking into the bottom of a river, I say.
I can tell he is no longer listening, his eyes
are back to the branch. I smile and scoop
him up before he can grab it again, tickling
his side to make him giggle. He wiggles
in my arms, laughter bright and bursting,
this boy who came to me like gold.