Sunday, November 17, 2013

HH at 10

Each step he takes is toward the door
That small patch of pimples
He hadn’t even noticed
A step toward the door
The phone
The hair
The secrets
All steps
But yet he still puts his undershirt on backwards
And forgets to zip his fly
And wants me to ride with him to school each morning
Even if I am required to break away just out of sight of the bike lock-up
One step forward
One step back from the door
Am I counting, no
Am I paying attention, yes
Does it matter, yes

An old friend called last week
His son had taken an apartment
And he wasn’t a happy man, my friend
To the door and through it
His son had gone
Into his own home
Signed, sealed and delivery accepted
He must have done something right, my friend decided
But those were only words to bide him over
To the next realization
And less a moment of self-congratulation
Than a reluctant recognition of the inevitable

My friend did well by his son
But ultimately he was helpless
From first step to goodbye
Any more than I could delay those pimples from blossoming
Brightly, proudly, defiantly
On that soft face
The face I wait for every morning fresh from bed
And now, in the afternoons
Nearly anxious at the window
Watching for his soon-to-be-replaced blue bike
His knees brushing the handle bars as he peddles furiously and obliviously
Round the last corner and across the last street
Until he is safely, if temporarily, home

November 17, 2013