There you are on the set, real dad of the girl whose movie dad,
the script says, is newly widowed and in town only for Christmas
until he runs into his high school flame. He’s taller than you, younger,  

Instagram famous, hair so perfect even the caterer finds reason
to touch it, his arms thick as thighs beneath cable-knit sweaters.
You heard someone say a model, college football, The Bachelor.  

You note how little energy he burns compared to how much
he attracts: He stands stone-still between takes and playful questions
come from the crew in waves: Dog person or cat person? Favorite emoji?  

He answers each with a rehearsed seriousness and a smile, speaking
softly as if into a boom mic, and with an unblinking gaze,
compels whoever’s in front of him to enter for a moment a scene  

the same for him whether cameras roll or not, a charged
exchange of laughter and awkward silence that the other person
always breaks first, like your daughter did in the hotel lobby 

before he extended an elbow to her in these post-handshake times.
What really gets you is how kind he’s been to her, twelve,
costumed in pigtails and sparkly pink boots to play ten, who,  

in her excitement to be on a film set, to be anywhere free
for two weeks from remote learning, remote friends, is a running
faucet of giggles and small talk. She asks him his favorite color,   

his middle name, makes him guess the names of her pets,
and he never once steps away, some part of her opening
here in Tulsa, Oklahoma, like the door to the flower shop   

they’ll walk through together in the next scene, hitting
their marks in front of the register to pay for the best tree
in the makeshift lot, a Fraser fir longer than their car 

and wider, the one they’d picked a scene earlier while rare
lake-effect snow blew in off Oologah to the north, clumps of it
stuck to precise spots on their hats by the continuity director  

before each slate clap, before movie dad, reaching for his wallet,
recognized in multiple takes from three different angles
the woman in the soiled smock as she dropped a box

of ornaments and the plot turned as predictably as a road
leading home, the dad’s decision to stay in town, start over,
live near his sister and, of course, the shop owner, who falls   

for your daughter because she, too, lost her mother as a girl,
the spontaneous hug they share sealing their scripted bond
in the scrim-soft light of a straight-to-TV movie world  

you’ve clicked past each Christmas, never stopping
to consider art for which sweetness is the sole, simple point,
sweetness that will offer a salve for ninety minutes to soothe 

these burning days if cable picks the film up, which the director
is confident it will, based on his contacts and experience,
based on the huge market for hope and happy endings 

with fresh starts in towns never named, like the one
in which your daughter has gotten to shine for a while
while you held her coat behind the camera’s eye.