09/06/2012 11:03 am ET Updated Nov 06, 2012

Valet Angelus

By John Hennessy

Shirt first I pull him out of sleep,
curry, clip, preen, tog, bear clean

underwear, hoist him into darkness, rude
as that first blue shake while his mother bled

(the midwife saved her with a shot of pitocin
stuck hard in the thigh, postpartum contractions--

some other era surely she's gone
and he and I enact a Dickens plot),

straight-faced he suffers me, long yawns,
magnificent, my tiny gentleman,

my morning wren, his pants with skulls
on both back pockets, he faces hell’s

new Punch and Judy with complacency,
now he’s too old but I used to kiss his feet,

their hint of vinegar, I’m still fierce
as any disciple, these convert works

before the school bus comes, I’d use my hair,
anoint him, here, he’s laughing, here.

This poem originally appeared in Huffington, in the iTunes App store.