A Letter to My Son After Learning of His Rare Genetic Disorder

When you arrived,
even the flowers wore masks,
as though cross-pollination
would shatter soil.

I laid on my side, afraid.
The midwife punctured a membrane.
There were cheers.
Brine spilled on the bed, you emerged
indigo and raw.

For a long while,
I awoke to the Japanese maple
at my window.
It beamed maroon,
leaves shimmied aglow
in the late May sun.

But on the tenth day
a whack-thud
rang through my corridors.
One branch had snapped
under a waning moon.
I wept.

You gazed with focus
as the arborist
tended and diagnosed.

A honey bee
found an opening
and took up residence
behind my breastbone.

Now, it harvests nectar
from goldenrods
and blazing stars,

and fills my chest
with crystalized
wax cells.

Before the leaves turn,
we melt the comb
and drink.