Monday, July 25, 2016

Little boys, grown men

For S, who doesn't know this poem is being written with him in my head

For a week I have been thinking
how little boys can grow without a mother
to teach them how to break an egg
to kiss their knees when they get scabbed

all I can think of is they cannot
a boy with soft brown curls cannot
sleep hugging a shadow
as you comb out nightmares from his hair

I know you will try
a dad is a dad is a dad
but the touch of sand is never
the same as the touch of silk

for a week I have been thinking about how men
can lose an arm, a leg, a house
but not another who contains
all the parts necessary for them to grow

from young boys into other men
who lift the boxes,
buy the eggs, the bandages
who sign at the end of long, complicated papers

same documents no one else has the time to read
because the food might burn if its left unsupervised
for a week I have been thinking of men
who live without a wife, without a lover to hold

who are forced to merge both silk and sand
to assure the creation is pure, like glass
a dad is a dad is a dad
sleeping alone on a bed for two, yet a dad is a grown man

plagued by memory of  fire binding two souls,
a man is a man is a man
I can see, you will not remove a woman from you
like another ring taken down in face of shredding skins

for a week I have been thinking of little boys
of grown men, how they cannot forget
together or apart: her smell, her short-cropped hair
the way she slept on her left side when she was pregnant
maybe, it is a test of will,
this process of growth
from little boys to older men.

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