On Broken Tooth
“Not everything has to be perfect.”
I hear each syllable, his breath on broken tooth.
Advice cemented in membrane; a tape never worn
to rewind. The phrase has been kept bold, underlined,
in periphery, easy insurance when needed.
If I could – go back to that minute, watch us from above,
that knee you took, eye to eye, how you said it slow
with a smile. An understanding laugh.
Those kind words found even on your weighted wings.
That I cannot recall; only build on schema.
But I can, and will, remember it for someone else.
Words of wisdom first uttered in their flesh.
Two days ago, I passed a mother and daughter.
Office attire. School uniform. Hand leading hand.
“We’re allowed to step on the cracks here, aren’t we?”
“Yes, darling, because there are so many.”