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Evan Breathing



Evan, nine months old, round eyes

still wavering from brown to gray,

interrogates the telephone

without a syllable to say.


His father pleads for us who wait,

eager, invisible, all ears,

two hundred thirty miles behind

the world that Evan sees and hears.


"Say 'Hi' to grandma and grandpa,"

our firstborn coaxes for our sakes,

as if his love could galvanize

some tenuous wire that absence breaks.


Astronomers who comb the sky

for signs that this or that is true

live on the static of the stars,

and tabulate, and make it do.


Evan, your breathing is all we sense,

minutely bridging, puff by puff,

the miles, the days, from there to here.

It isn't much. But it's enough.


                               Rhina P. Espaillat



Rhina P. Espaillat; first published in

The Lyric; reprinted by permission of the author.