Everything at Once: Notes to My Son

Jonathan Hiskes

Originally published in River Teeth, Spring 2015. (Subscribe here; River Teeth is great, and it’s named after an excellent David James Duncan essay.)

Puget Sound from San Juan Island

June

We returned from the hospital, our family, and immediately I shrugged the bags off my shoulder and set to work unpacking dirty clothes. I’ve always had this compulsion to unpack right away, always in a hurry to restore order. Then I turned to watch your mother. Unshowered, still exhausted from labor, she lifted you from the car seat into her arms. “This is our couch,” she whispered, walking softly. “This is our kitchen.”

You won’t comprehend any of this for months, you shriveled, squinting creature. You haven’t even learned to hold your eyes open. Yet Hannah paced the house, letting the familiar squeaks in the floor comfort herself, if not you. I stopped to watch–the laundry could wait. She showed you the nursery…

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