for Zachary, born in late May
Epigraph from Jean Piaget: Visions at
birth largely consist of light perception
and reflexes produced by light.
In June we dine on light
swaddled til we lose all sense
of day and night, new again,
paddling out from a warm dark sea,
eyelids dropping like shields
against light's abundance
the infant boy sleeps
more than he wakes,
myopic gopher slit-eyeing
the new phenomena flooding in,
sipping tiny doses of each morning,
noon, and night, storing them whole
in his spanking new memory
One hundred and fourteen
The year he arrived, a hundred and fourteen
newborn Zachs joined him in Alberta.
The number climbs if you count variations:
Zacherys with an 'e', Zacharys with an a,
with 'i' instead of "y", Zachariahs and Zacharies.
Still, there are never enough Zacharys to go
around. Ask grandparents waiting their turns
to hold the new bundle of joy, weary parents
rushing to costume changes, jotting hurried thanks
to gift givers.
So many public appearances. Sleep times
interrupted by rides to and from the homes of
admirers. Parents full-time invitation jugglers.
Papous and yayas, grams and grampas, cousins,
uncles and aunts all part of the balancing act.
The nose of the family dog, Benny, is seriously
out of joint, his walks forfeited in favor of
the babe's. Zorba the cat, who's been round
the block longer than dog and child, has learned
to move aside, though he catches forty winks in
the crib whenever the boy goes out and about on tour.
Early evening, two men out back playing catch,
loosening up from the day's frets and fiascoes.
They've got a rhythm going. Sla-aw-ti-ch.
Ball into glove. Talk pitched slow and even.
Bu-ah. Beginner letters. Buhh-aw-u l l.
First word from the grandson's mouth.
Wobbly legs aim for the object of desire.
Baahh-aw-uhll. The boy gathers it up,
throws like a sure-nuff major leaguer,
rooky on his way up, age one and a bit.
Rinks, diamonds. golf greens beckon.
Dad will tie him into skates when he's
three. Cut a golf club down to size.
The child's great granpa comes to mind.
A farm-league forward, good golfer too.
Gone before advising there to place a puck.
That reddish orb might belong to the dog.
Well-chewed. Oh well. Dad pauses
before rolling a slow one to his son.