Upon My Son’s Naptime
John Davis Jr.

I contemplate my greatest uncle,
whose speed bump knuckles dug trenches
in Nazi landscape, foreheads, and faces
throughout the era of World War II.

An 82nd Airborne Ranger, holding
a knife was one of the tricks he used
to stay alert while standing guard—its metal
clang, if dropped, would keep him awake.

Bearing his name, you fight against sleep,
clutching my finger like government-issued
security: your digits and palm grasp hard
that first joint, not quite the hilt of my hand.

I know you’ve arrived at your dreams when,
with a sigh, you allow the release
of my unscarred, academic appendage,
exchanging it for your own closed fist.



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