Sunday, April 11, 2021



She said I’m becoming a young lady

When I asked her if she understood what was 

Happening to her body and such.

She said it with a mixture of pride

And embarrassment, a twinkle in her still-a-kid eye,

A pink flush in the same cheeks

I used to pinch at bath time.  

Which prompted the unsolicited apprehension

That I was becoming an older man

Myself, which I sort of relished 

With my own ad hoc mixture 

Of accomplishment and foreboding.  

Visions appeared of when I was twelve;

Wisps of pubic hairs, scrawny thighs

A pimple boring into my back like an awl

And I envied her relative self possession.

The first flash of a woman just dawning.

Becoming happens whether we know

Where we’re going or when we’ve arrived.

Beginning-less and destination-less,

The doggedness of un-belonging.

I know I won’t be around to hear her sigh

And whisper into a mirror the old lament---

I have become an old lady---

Some desultory grayed Tuesday morning

Which makes me want to cry

And I cry too much for a grown man

Though I'm known as even-keeled and cold.

I want to tell her about crying,

How deep and complex it is,

Beyond just cuts and nicks and mother’s deaths.

That we can cry when we love so deeply---

This child, this life, this morning song---

That crying is the only linguistic refuge

Available when we can't find the words.

Like how we must breathe 

When the air runs out

And find we’ve dived too deep.

Love inosculates itself with grief

As spring commingles with fall.

We forget to laugh with the daffodils

While mournlessly ignoring

The descent of the last leaf.

It all runs around together:

Gains and losses,

Things we cling to,

Piles of discarded rubbish,

Coming and going, this way or that,

It’s easy to lose track.

Love can surprisingly sting in the

Same sense that sadness

Can descend as welcome relief.  

I won’t tell her yet

About the old men who weep

For all the time they’ve lost

To gain this one moment of bliss,

How love and loss become two sides

Of the same coin that we flip

And call heads or tails and

Wait for it to never come down.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are a beautiful soul, a doting and attentive father, and a deeply moving poet. Those who are loved by you ought to count themselves lucky.