A Drink of Water
A tactic for keeping us near, not for staying awake.
Still we’d call, Go to sleep! – joke that the well
was dry. We don’t see our mistakes right away.
I sent his father pushing his whole self:
sleep-walker, his father's father, laggard
pilgrim. From across the hall, we heard a small boy drink
as if he meant to teach us how it’s done: exaggerated
gulps, or blessing of the throat, or baptism; the sinking
thrill of water filling his bony frame, or drowning him.
And then the playful gasp between each self-immersion.
The antics of the unconverted. Had he said
his prayers? His sadness at the question, his sour
objection. One more. One more dog-weary tour
and prayer was this encounter of his thirst with ours.