Matt Peulen: Daddy in Pieces

Spring '07 TOC

I.
“Are they broken?” she asks
        as they hand us our daughter
“No” is all they answer
        and we celebrate our first child

As they hand us our daughter
        we wonder about her legs
and we celebrate our first child
        the soles of her feet resting comfortably against her butt

We wonder about her legs
        when the doctor visits us a day later and asks if we noticed
the soles of her feet resting comfortably against her butt
        and her trials begin

When the doctor visits us a day later and asks if we noticed
        we learn she’ll need casts, braces, possibly surgery
and her trials begin
        with plans to go to a specialist

We learn she’ll need casts, braces, possibly surgery
        and she turns red from crying while he stretches her legs
with plans to go to go to a specialist
        every Monday for new casts

And she turns red from crying while he stretches her legs
        held in pain by plaster half way up your thigh
every Monday for new casts
        every week a new pain

Held in pain by plaster half way up your thigh
        you see me through teary eyes and ask why
every week a new pain
        and I can’t explain it to you
           
You see me through teary eyes and ask why
        as you take your cherry Tylenol
and I can’t explain it to you
        as you fall asleep exhausted from crying

As you take your cherry Tylenol
        I wonder how many more weeks I have to put you through this
as you fall asleep exhausted from crying
        how much can your little body take?

II.

Tom, the caster, pulls you towards him
        yanking the plastic wrap
he cuts the plaster with a scissors
        your legs are free

Yanking the plastic wrap
        you must wonder if
your legs are free?
        will the pain start over again?

You must wonder if
        we love you, bringing you here every week
will the pain start over again?
        will it keep me from sleeping again tonight?

We love you, bringing you here every week
        hoping you remember none of it
will it keep me from sleeping again tonight
        imagining you never forget this?

Hoping you remember none of it
        we focus on the good
imagining you never forget this
        does us no good

We focus on the good
        as you smile and kick your legs
does us no good
        to think of what might be

As you smile and kick your legs
        we cry for you
to think of what might be
        when this is all done

We cry for you
        as the doctor returns
when this is all done
        your legs will hurt again

As the doctor returns
        your legs are stretched
your legs will hurt again
        at least until next Monday

III.

I look into your face
        trying to provide comfort
understanding your pain
        but not knowing it

Trying to provide comfort
        your lips pucker and quiver
understanding your pain
        already knowing it is part of life

Your lips pucker and quiver
        holding in a scream
already knowing it is part of life
        and I wish you’d learned another way

Holding in a scream
        your faded blue eyes fill up with tears
and I wish you’d learned another way
        that life is good luck and bad luck

Your faded blue eyes fill up with pain
        and your lashes clump and are beautiful
that life is good luck and bad luck
        makes me wallow in my futility

And your lashes clump and are beautiful
        making me smile even in your pain
make me wallow in my futility
        wondering if you need me

Making me smile even in your pain
        I realize your strength and courage
wondering if you need me
        wondering when it will stop

I realize your strength and courage
        knowing you can make it through
wondering when it will stop
        and I know you do too

Knowing you can make it through
        I hold you to my neck
and I know you do too
       as each arm wraps around me

Hailey

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Not Enough Night
Not Enough Night
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