Poet of the Week: Samantha Thornhill
Most Beautiful Accident: A Single Parent’s Ode
I imagine the day you will ask me:
why is our life that Bill Withers song,
just the two of us?
You’ll want to know why your father
isn’t here disrupting our doorways,
off teaching you dangers I wouldn’t dare.
How to tumble down hills with grace.
How to ride a bike with your hands
raised in prayer. Tossing you about
when I’m a stranger to fun, hoisting
you to ceilings with biceps twice as strong as mine
to make an airplane of you, superhero, rocket ship.
To my small hands, you’re an astronaut.
Intrepid sojourner. You are universe
of brain with buckets of words.
So when you finally ask me
why is my daddy a faraway star? I’ll say
beloved, you were his most beautiful accident.
Blinded him with your big bang,
divine astonishment. Demanding
little angel who arrived unannounced,
then remained. I know your father’s love
doesn’t feel like mine, but love
is like water, coming to us in multitudes.
It is rain beading across your hair,
snow melting on your lips. Avalanche.
Dew’s slow delicacy. Hurts like hail.
I don’t know if your father will ever come
around with his liquid eyes that I see in yours,
your exact dimples indenting his cheeks.
But should the day usher him here,
may the cup in your chest expand to accept
the potential oceans trickling from him.
His absence compels me to mother you
with the ardor of two—impossible joy!
When you fall asleep in the bassinet
you make of my arms, no room to lament:
I am your breath’s one witness.
Your ear suctions to my chest.
Can you hear the hammers? My worker
heart’s making a mansion of the world inside it—
your name kissed to its door.