in our dad shoes

Walking tenderly, 
your patient unpracticed transport;

struggling for
smoothed transitions; 
heel, arch, ball of toe. 

Floating along this hallway

with you sleeping, 

swaddle wrapped torpedo-like 
and wedged between the base of my palm 
and the crook of my right arm. 

The beep and whoosh at each intersection 
help me echolocate in space
and time. 

There’s no sense of motion 
save for the alternating fluorescent 
flickers above. 

Is it day?
Is it night?
Was Monday
a minute ago?

A slight shuffle
reveals the worn groove
I follow. 

People pass, 

some I notice, 
some notice that I notice. 
None spend much time seeing me. 

They can’t really. 

My sense of ‘me’ is past tense.
I am now never right here.
I will now only be
a moment ago.

Right now,
for now,

I am all halo and aura 
and clumsy smiles. 

An identity wakes and expands 
and stretches and tries to 
make space 
for all the things I don’t know yet. 

This moment of reverence 
is heavily referential. 
My face reveals untethered hope. 

And fear. 

A passerby offers brightly
‘Oh what a good Dad.’

My face rounds out
in one of those 
convex mirrors. 

Turning the corner,
worry draws me back 
to my tiring arm. 

I didn’t earn 
those words yet,
I took them anyway. 

You were an imagined world 
upon which I now reside. 

You are answers I may never understand. 

I have so many questions,

that are impossible
to ask.