My son has a mouth
like the Red Sea, parting
in two perfect halves, the gums
sprays of spit over them.
Oooh ooh ooh, he cries,
teething. A small nub on
the lower left, white, arching,
a whale. I had wondered
as a child about the marine
life when God commanded Moses
to part the sea. Small of the shallows,
big of the deeps, all made vertical,
a parfait of salt and wild. I thought
this the better sort of love
than what God showed Moses.
And why shouldn’t God have a special fondness
for whales? Both ponderous and just
under the surface of things? The
weightlessness of not being given
a choice, no burning bush, no being
left outside the promised land.
Only up, up, up, towards the divine,
holy tooth, bursting through skin.
My son is growing out not up, and
his Red Sea has wails of a different
sort. I hold him until he sleeps.
There is no way to explain God to him,
why his bones must break through his own body.
And would I, if I could? I’ve spent too
much time in the deep. I had forgotten
until now what happens
when God says Up, up, up.