Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

for Riley

At twenty inches tall you first stood up,
Attracting my attention with loud coos
Under the glass-top table where the news
Was spread around my clinking coffee cup.
Finger to finger touched, then palm to palm,
A game played on the glass less than an urge
To find the path on which our lives converge.
With all the weight and grace of psalms,
Translating silent, nimble words of sign
Language, we met, your lifeline against mine.
Delighted that despite solid restraint,
We had determined ways of reaching through,
You were content to dally in that place,
Having a hundred years ahead of you.
But I, with less for self-imposed constraint,
And greedy, gathered you in my embrace.