First three words
At thirteen months Ben can say Ma Ma, Da Da
and Fa Fa, which he watches his father create
in a wood stove each day to heat their home.
Tonight Ben rocks beside the iron box chanting
Fa Fa as softly as flames draw light from paper,
then drops his head and charges to the kitchen
to point toward the range’s burners: Fa Fa.
When I tip a foiled pot of tulips
to his face, he finds no name for what lifts
his spirit: Aah Aah, his cheek, fingertips,
Aah, his lips against those yellow petals!
Gentle, gentle coos Ma Ma as he strains
to cradle the blooms without crushing them,
his delight so pure he might burst into flame.