April 13: Early Morning Boy

by allisonkujiraoka

Good morning, it’s time to wake

a voice nudges at daybreak.

And with a reluctant pause you reach for outstretched arms,

and in that embrace we wind down stairs, still in shadow.

Half-asleep head,

body pining for bed,

undressing and dressing in automatic motion

before the kerosene heater.

You do not rise easily when you must;

you do not come bounding down to your breakfast.

I do not begrudge you that; instead you cling

and silently profess your childhood.

Defenses down, compliant intimation

you do not protest my affection.

Crusty eyes, stuffy nose, spiky hair, smelly breath,

all endearing under dawn’s forgiving pale blue light.

Before long you’ll shoulder your school bag, armored,

your gait fast and sure, pitched forward,

announcing your independence to the world.