What Grace Is

Under ancient live oaks
My son and I hang in hammocks
Opposite edges of the campsite
Like fruit,
His small green hammock having ripened
Into my double-wide red one
As if a time-lapse split-screen.

Two-thirty a.m.
And the ash still invisibly exhales
A feeble tendril of smoke between us
The gentle rain,
Barely more than mist,
Begins to fall.

Silently — I cannot wake the scouts or other dads —
I rise to sitting
Slip my feet into hiking boots like house slippers
Shuffle clumsily to him.
I move the camp chair that holds his sneakers
Under his tarp.
Now they will be dry for him
When he stirs in five hours.

It hits me, maybe for the first time,
What grace is:
It is all that The Parent does for us
That we sleep right through,
Softly snoring sweet oblivion
Under rain-heavy clouds.
Being spared that which we never even knew
Was threatening.
Unknown unknowns.
Dry tennis shoes.

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