Bedtime Heirloom

Dad and I would read together

every night, with our heads close,

peering into the book

like it was a window to another world.

The old must from aged pages,

once dog-eared by grandaddy’s fingers,

billowed over me, sporific, wise, and mystical,

granting gravity and ancience to their contents.

Wise things seem to smell that way,

weathered, patient, and secretive,

quietly tempting, hinting

of the roiling worlds within.

We lie cradled

on the creaking four-poster bed,

the one grandaddy made,

ready to enact the timeless bedtime liturgy.

Ready to wage the customary battle,

striving against the superior forces

the silent, encumbering weight of sleep,

seeking to steal our story time.

Dad would wrap his right arm

all the way ‘round his head

prying open his left eyelid with his fingers

in a last ditch attempt at lucidity

Talking beast and righteous victory rode his words,

as they had his father’s, as they will my own,

joining the sweet, stinging bouquet of Dad’s breath,

the afternoon coffee, the nightly bourbon.