Infant of painful belly
sleeps only when held upright,
seeking skin contact,
the family scent, family touch,
flesh to flesh.
My daughter, so tired,
new mother, must rest.
Men need to do things. At least, I do.
The porch rail remains half-built,
the truck idles roughly,
not this evening’s chore.
Just as I once rocked my daughter, now
her babe sleeps with warm little cheek
against my stubbly old,
hot puffs of breath
on my grainy neck.
Some day, grandson, you may wear
my scent of sweat, sawdust, motor oil.
For now you smell of milk, mommy, peace.
Life is so basic with a baby:
doing nothing, giving comfort,
the work of love.
I had to delete this and two other poems from Hello Poetry while a journal published it. The journal, an anthology called Dove Tales, is out now, so here's the poem back where it first appeared.