Yours to Keep

YOURS TO KEEP

Little girl
you grow before my eyes and
the feel of your hand in mine as I walk you to school
stills my restless demons;
I am far from a perfect man but
I live to be flawless in your eyes.
Every kiss you bless upon my cheek
reminds me that while I am responsible
for protecting your life,
you have saved mine.
Sometimes I see glimpses
of the woman you will grow to be and
your subtle grace melts me.
Please know that being your father
is my greatest achievement and honor;
with the very first flutter of your eyes
I became yours to keep

© Copyright 2014 Joseph A. Pinto. All Rights Reserved.

Dulled

DULLED

I need to listen closely—
the pain you share
should be sharp yet
comes delivered dull, spoken
at the price of a worn tongue;
how it rends me to hear you
recall the worst of all you have been;
I sit quietly
listening to your soft grace
betrayed by the broken
fragments of your words:
I can’t ever glue you back together
but I can hold you in my hands.

© Copyright 2014 Joseph A. Pinto. All Rights Reserved.

Savior

SAVIOR

Man of Steel
why won’t you come down from
your perch high above Metropolis
save me
I have desperately tried to fly in your cape
but you left me no field guide and
in this world I need to be more than just
a hero
Do you remember when
I gazed upon you with wonder
an unflinching conviction that you were no
mere man
Please can’t you see
how hard I struggle to soar and
I’ve no currents with which to take flight—
a cry
And from my booth I dash
carrying this child in my arms
shielding her from life’s evils, forever
her guardian
imperfect savior;
to the skies I search in vain
bemoaning mine.

 

© Copyright 2014 Joseph A. Pinto. All Rights Reserved.

Wings

I had the opportunity to chaperone my daughter’s kindergarten class trip last week.

We visited World of Wings, a great facility featuring a butterfly atrium, rooms filled with creepy-crawly bugs and slithering reptiles (inside their holding tanks, of course), and a whole host of other fun exhibits.  But the single attraction that stole the show by unanimous kid-vote was the bouncy house!! Butterflies flitting above their heads and Horned Bearded Dragons be darned, nothing could compare to the awesome allure of that bouncy house…

Naturally, I loved every minute of it. I loved being part of my daughter’s day, watching her interact with her young friends, seeing the sheer joy of discovery and rampaging fun on her face. I loved listening to her laugh; I loved seeing the curiosity that filled her innocent eyes. And yes, I loved watching her run amok with a whole horde of crazed, gleeful kids inside the irresistible bouncy house.

Just like those magnificent butterflies, my daughter spreads her wings a bit more every day. For someone who conjures and writes tales of the gruesome and horrible all of the time, it’s simply the most beautiful of wonders to see.

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Boy on Strings

My last January breath rose in a plume to the sky
and left me wondering if this would be how
my soul would one day escape me,

wispy vapored , twanged by fingers of Northeast wind;
I suppose I will always be a puppet but the excuse
of ‘oh, it will be much warmer tomorrow’ keeps me from cutting

the fishing line. I love the dangling, but if you should ask me I
will vehemently deny it, blow frozen curses into your
face – then request for you to reposition me. Please.

A light snow falls; February knocks and soon all trace
of my existence will vanish from the air. Still, I will
always dangle here, waiting for your hand to guide me.

© Copyright 2014 Joseph A. Pinto. All Rights Reserved.

In Peace

I said a prayer in the moments before I saw you that

my composure would be steel and yet your

utter silence broke me down in ways I never expected.

 

Forgive me, I faltered when taking your still hand into mine and

realizing your sleep would be an endless one,

began to pity myself.  And in your dignified manner, you stilled me,

 

imparted sweet memories; you allowed me a time I thought had

long past and selfish as it may be, I am grateful for holding you

one last time.

 

I want you to know that behind your closed eyes, I still saw

you as you should be and as you will always be

to me: smiling

 

You were such a gentleman in every sense of the word.

 

Dear friend, I hope you heard me when I whispered

that I would not say farewell.  I kissed your cheek

and I meant it.  There are no goodbyes; there are only see you later’s.

 

So sleep in peace, and within your warm cocoon

learn of your new wings now.  Fashion your Heaven as

it should be

 

As one day, I will mine.

 

We will have a party then for the ages,

won’t we?  Be with love and light, dear

friend.  I’ll meet you then at the bar come nine.

~ for Rich

© Copyright 2014 Joseph A. Pinto. All Rights Reserved.

Greater Than Anything

Greater than anything I could achieve as a writer, my daughter scored 7 out of 10 ‘red words’ correctly on her kindergarten test.

At, my, are, with, me, come, what, you, my, can.  Those words are just some of the ‘red words’ she has been learning; the building blocks of language.  The keys to reading.  Since entering kindergarten this year, the going has been tough.  She’s struggled; she’s despaired.  But day after day, she has gone to school with a bright smile and an unspoken grace.  Day after day, she has sat to do homework, to grind through the task at hand.  Yet no matter the difficulty, she has done so with a willingness and determination that few adults exhibit.

As her teacher quizzed the class on the list of ‘red words,’ my daughter listened to the word as it was spoken and then wrote it down, letter by letter; not once but twice.  This from a little girl who has gone through extensive occupational, speech and physical therapies.  This from a little girl who has gone through it all with that same bright smile and unparalleled grace.  This from a little girl who has made slow but steady progress every day.

She worked hard preparing for the test.  “Try your best, and don’t worry about getting the answers wrong,” I told her.  Which is difficult to explain to a child when the world around us demands that we constantly achieve.

The afternoon of her test, her teacher gave me a thumbs-up when I picked her up from school.  “She did great!” she told me, but I barely heard her – the smile lighting my daughter’s face said it all.  Once home, she hurriedly took the test from her backpack.  She glowed as she pointed to the glittering star sticker atop it.  “I did it!”

Yes you did, my little girl.

Anything in this world is attainable, no matter how big or small.  And you don’t need to get everything right; you just need to give it your best.