Love’s Gaze

For my father, Alvin Ellis

Your first gaze upon newborn me escapes the recesses of my memory

But I know without question

That your first gaze was one filled with love, adoration, devotion, hope, and joy

Now as a grown woman with my own family,

Your gaze upon me has never shifted, wandered, nor faltered

It remains steadfast, sure, and constant

It challenges, it propels, it nurtures, it envelops

Like an impenetrable fortress your gaze is evidence of a father’s love

A love that guides and protects no matter the distance

Under the gaze of my father, I have grown roots into love-rich soil

I don’t question my beauty, my identity, my value, or my worth

Because I grew under love’s radiant gaze

Love’s gaze gave me wings to soar, and I am flying

For my husband, Kenneth Cox, Jr

While our paths intertwined many times, your gaze was only fleeting at first

But then love’s gaze captured both our hearts and eternally knit our lives together

I bathe in love’s gaze whenever our souls lock,

The passion and intensity of your gaze often makes me blush

And I witness love’s gaze when you look at our three beautiful children

I saw the first glimpse each time I shared the news that my womb would birth new life

Then the gorgeous smile that danced across your lips with the rhythm of each heartbeat,

The ultrasound images, their miraculous births,

And those first cries declaring, “I have arrived”

Your gaze, like my father’s, is steadfast, sure, and constant

Your gaze never shifts, wanders, nor falters

I watch our children grow and thrive under love’s gaze,

Their beauty, their identity, their value, and their worth affirmed

Our children speak with confidence, with power and authority

Because they know the depth of their father’s love

Yours is a love that teaches, guides, structures, protects, and provides

Your love knows no bounds and for that we will always love, honor, and celebrate you

Happy Father’s Day to you, my father, and all the fathers !

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