Poetry by Perry Brass: “The Child”

Perry Brass is the author of several novels and nonfiction books on gay spirituality and sacred eros. As a Christmas gift to his newsletter list, he shared some of his recent poems, one of which he has kindly permitted me to reprint below. The boy in this poem could be the Christ Child or my own high-spirited 3-year-old, both calling me to enter their demanding, miraculous presence.

The Child

What do you do? Your insides are constantly
shifted toward him. He consumes you with
his needs, his perfection,
his amazing complexion and beauty.
And curiosity! A sponge. His eyes
are a sponge and you want him to just
hold you in their gaze for a few minutes
before he runs off. Or a year, or a decade.
But no,
they won’t. They’ll discover the world,
and you will discover it with him.
If you’re lucky. If you don’t die,
or die of disappointment because you’ve
just invested everything in him—you
put it in his childish grasp that casts off
each instance and reinvents
the warm earth

and the cold night. It seeks terror
in fairy tales; and you seek safety
in each morsel of love he returns.

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