168 Cafes

A wee chat with my son, Cooper, this morning:

George: Can’t wait to travel again. See another country.

Cooper: My friend has been to a lot of countries.

G: Really? Well, you have been to two countries.

C: Scotland?

G: No, you haven’t been to Scotland yet, but you’ve been here and…?

C: England?

No, you’ve been here in America and in Mexico.

Well, my friend has been in five countries.

Five? Wow, where has he been?

He’s been in Scotland and America and England and here and America.

I see, quite a traveler.

Yeah, and … and he is from a different planet.

A different planet?!

Yes. Far far away.

How far?

So far! It takes 168 cafes to get there.

That’s a lot of cafes.


Do you have to eat the whole way?

Yeah. But it’s so good!

  • Cooper, lying on a dresser, as he tells his stories.

It’s going to be magic

I must have been falling asleep
right there in the chair
as my weans continued to play
as passionately as they do
at that so delightful age.

“You know,” my 4-year-old son
said in response to something
from my wee girl that I hadn’t heard.
“It’s just that Daddy’s a bit old
and broken. Like his car.”

My boy fiddled and fudged
with a piece of paper
creating God only knows what,
so of course I had to ask,
“What are you doing there, lad?”

He stopped what he was doing
just for a moment, it seemed,
just long enough to glance
reassuringly at me in the mirror
with that oh so charming smile of his.

“Don’t worry,” he said,
“it’s going to be magic.”

Cooper, my wee clever man

the sun in the attic

It’s not that I was always scared
of the creeping creatures in the dark,
but I must admit that at times
they drove me more fervently
to hide beneath the sheets.

But then my son drew me a picture
and explained why such fears
were unfounded, considering
that even in the darkest attics
the sun still hangs resplendent.

– for Cooper

my clever boy, Cooper Douglas Ellington

this moment

These bones sag,
the craggy skin that loosely shrouds them
blistering with age
like pages of countless neglected tomes

I remember well
how my feet flew across the playground,
how these hands unlined
grasped eagerly at play and joyful mirth

I watch them play now
and lay my fear to rest for a time at least,
the beast of my pains
falling silent as songs fill my heart

Time is jealous—
time is a base and wrathful whore monger,
a money lender
preying upon the naive and hopeful

But for this moment,
for this graceful gracious laughing moment,
time means nothing
and love is everything that has ever been

Or ever will be

my beautiful boy

he is a wondrous whirlwind
of expansive energy
and most honest intent

he is the beckoning voice
of a far gone youth
compelling me to rise and follow

he is the breath of curiosity
refusing to comply
yet always eager to please

he reaches deep into my heart
and finds the hidden places
i once wandered when i too was young

he keeps me honest and hopeful
and richly rewards
every second i am willing

to play in his world