At birth, you were deadly serious.
Hours old and days old, you gazed at me
with the bluest of Siamese cat’s eyes.
Your whole hand held my index finger
and you wouldn’t let go,
wouldn’t take your eyes from mine.
Later, you were a kitten, mewling for milk
and curled for sleep.
And I instantly fed
my identity to you, redefining myself
as a parent, as your new and fearful father.
How those months held me
as I held you from fragility to sturdiness,
to the darkening and curly growth of your hair.
How I held you to smiling and articulation
in which you grew in sunlight and play-swing,
as you fit perfectly in my arms,
as I held you up to the stars of the ceiling,
as you grew into yourself and myself,
forever a father and daughter refrain,
where you learned to walk early
and your first human word was my name.