For a long time, he could not hug.
He’d give me the teenage wave,
the grunt when I told him he was loved,
and I knew such things
were the Oreo Cookie stage of manhood—
tough on the outside, soft and sweet within.
But then she died,
his wrestling mate and companion.
She was always eager at the door,
chocolate body swaying,
everything in danger from that arc of her tail.
Even when he couldn’t say, “I love you”
aloud in a human way,
I think he whispered it to her,
his long arms wrapped around her,
his finger stroking silky ears.
This morning, he knelt by my office chair
and threw his arms around my waist,
shaking with his cries.
Such is the way of Al-Fattah,
using the pain and love of our lives,
to split us wide and allow
for the terrible and beautiful paths
Find the entire poetry collection This Nurturing Awe: Poems Inspired by the 99 Beautiful Names of God at