15,000 miles traversed by air. Three state lines crossed. Sleep through four time zones.

When back in familiar territory, nothing is routine.

Poetry still comes in the pillows, but now the roosters are awake, the sun closer to the horizon.

Words have less time, so they come in simply.

Appreciation for the slightest ease seems to smooth the days.

The way the bagel toasts golden. Cream cheese spreading in one, thick swipe.

The fresh fold of his t-shirt, the laundered creases emitting ordered readiness.

His nine-year old hand, reaching out in morning darkness. Growing fingertips pulling me closer to his dreamtime. The smell of shampoo on his hair.

We are the first at the bus stop, where a foot-long rat runs across a dewy lawn. The sky pinkens into a Wednesday.

There will be homework, a volunteer sign-up sheet, the appointment for the oil change, and still, that decision on the health insurance plan.

But today there is ease in simple things. A boy – my boy – pulls his backpack from the passenger side. And even though his friends linger by the bus stop bench nearby, he reaches over. Hugs me and says, “I love you.”

photo courtesy of Christian Cable
photo courtesy of Christian Cable

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