You Must Lift Your Son’s Languid Body

off the couch, tuck him into whatever
soft breach of the covers he can needle

into. You must lift your own tired self
beyond the threshold of the door

and snuff each candle till the smoke
writes the hours into the quiet house.

Must lift each pillow from the day
where new dangers thrust their heads

up from the anchoring grass. Each living
rage beyond the break of the horizon,

past your sight even on this cloudless day.
Because the future drives on new tires—

because the plateau piles everything
you love back into dust. We drive our pick

through the mineral of our apprehensions
and put our loves to bed without stopping

ourselves. Without pausing despite our worn
trunks. Without stopping our breath of song.

Copyright © 2023 by Oliver de la Paz. This poem appeared in Waxwing. Used with permission of the author.