waiting on a heartbeat

— Clint Smith

the doctor says you are there       even though we cannot hear you       & you know what they say about the tree       falling in the forest       & i know i have never heard a tree       i could not see       but i have seen trees i could not hear       little one       are you the tree or the forest or the sound we cannot hear       perhaps you are all three       you are half the size of a fingernail they say       & every time i hear that       i look down at my cuticles       & imagine you sitting there telling me it’s okay       there is nothing       to worry about       there is joy in being a father to a mystery       there is grace in watching the lilac       & knowing its petals will not expand before your eyes       only after you have left       & you little one       are my daily reminder       that you do not go to a botanical garden to watch the flowers grow       you go to give thanks for what has already blossomed

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