Saturday, July 6, 2024


 Florida Room

Yelled at my son for trashing

the Florida room again—

disheveled throw pillows, 

cushions freckled with crumbs, 

hunks of cubed fruit like hacked flesh 

littering the floor like a third world abattoir,

water bottles scattered like drunks

at a frat house, morning after a bash.

Growing up is learning to leave things

Unblemished, as if you were never there.

I tell him—

Try to be the tossed stone

that ripples a placid pond

with all the energy it carries, and no more.

Yes, it’s a strange kind of pleasure

to briefly disturb a universe 

before the surface smooths to glass.

But learn the lesson— it never lasts.

It’s something everyone ought to know

and he needs to be ready,

not only for the disturbance

but the inevitable erasure.

And better he learn it now

from someone who loves him

than to find out halfway through 

his life that he is not a moon

able to conjure an endless

cavalcade of waves 

to break against the shore.

Anyone can make a mess.

In fact, everyone should— 

don’t be the boy who 

never plays with his toys

lest they get scratched,

who keeps his favorite shirt

always hanging in the closet

so it doesn’t get stained 

who hoards his love

for a moment that never comes,

who spends a lifetime

collecting piles of smooth stones

by the banks of tranquil waters 

I tell him—

throw your stones, son,

every last one, 

because if you don’t

someone else will.

And then, because I'm the dad

and you have to do what I say,

clean it all up,

leave your spaces spotless,

before time gets the chance

to do it for you


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