I never just tell you straight up.
by Jeffrey Philip Clegg
Instead, it goes something like
the old beer commercial,
in a slightly animated, altered voice:
I love you, man!
This takes the edge off the real emotion.
More comfort in this zone.
Our cat is back home after several months
and you are almost thirteen years old.
Wanted to stroke your brown hair
when you laid on the kitchen floor last night,
watching Poindexter eat his food.
Wanted to say,
I love you,
but couldn't leave my safety net.
Have watched you grow from a sweet toddler
into a fun-to-be-around, nice kid.
Hard for me to express how much respect
I have for that about you.
Know you'll grow into a
man who can tell his kids,
he loves them,
without fear of exposing himself to judgment.
Am afraid of what you might think of me,
knowing of all my flaws, failures and shortcomings.
Somehow you probably forgive me these iniquities
because you are a brave soul.
Makes me want to print this off
and hand it to you some day,
with the last line reading:
I love you.