The Bearing Edge

For DJ

My son starts every conversation  
with the statement “I love you, Dad.”  

“I love you, Dad. What’s for dinner tonight?”  
“I love you, Dad. Is it supposed to rain?”  

“I love you, Dad. Can we go for a walk?”  
“I love you, Dad, but you really have to chill.”  

He’s like the guy who wears a bow tie  
to the bar and to the beach.  

He’s a dandy of affection, at once  
rolling up his pennies and spending them  

on ice cream. He’ll wear this phrase  
to heaven (he’s already been to hell—  

what he calls fostercareless). If  
Orpheus had a lyre, then he has a bearing  

edge. He will not drum without it:  
“I love you, Dad.” 

He moves forward by glancing back, 
and no one is ever lost. 

The sky sells cotton candy;  
the trees, shade. 

Love—it’s a kind of leash, invisible,  
expanding, and I’m his big, happy dog.

Copyright © 2023 by Ralph James Savarese. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 26, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.