Love, the nightwatch, gloved and gowned, attended.
Your father held my hand. His hands grew bruised
and for days afterwards wore a green and purple coverlet

when he held you to the light, held your delicate, dented
head, thumbed-in like a water font. They used
stopwatches, clipcharts, the distant hoofbeats of a heart

(divined, it seemed, by radio, so your call fell interwined
with taxicabs, police reports, the weather blowing showery
from the north) and a beautiful fine white cane,

carved into a fish hook. I was a haystack the children climbed
and ruined, collapsing almost imperceptibly
at first, then caving in spectacularly as you stuttered and came

—crook-shouldered, blue, believable, beyond me—
in a thunder of blood, in a flood-plain of intimate stains.