19 June, 2011

Father-Son Conversation

To J.V.P.
Born 24 January 2006 - Died 27 January 2006

Dear imagination of a boy, my round idea,
you will not know the calluses on my hand,
I will not teach you to wave hello.

You came in waving goodbye, in your way,
and the sound of your own music filled
the hallway between this place and another.

Beauty is not for everyone, but you gathered
the light from the hospital into your face.
To be brutally honest, I loved you.

I tried to hold you carefully by the stem,
But you were determined to fall, and falling,
blaze up like an evening populated with cloud.

You wore your mother's womanly lips, pursed
in a pleasant smile, but your eyes you protected
from the too-bright world we learn to call home.

The music within me is quiet, but persistent.
One day, like you, I will return to being the song.
Beneath my eyelids, too, runs the sound of water.

Beneath this world, another, and another.
Who would give me a map to find you, the paper
superimposed with a constantly moving "X"?

To me, you were first a synapse, then a son.
Now grief sparks again in my dome-covered brain.
I row the underground waters, lantern in hand.

I tried to hold you carefully, but goodbye
was already on your lips, a silent prayer.
I will go on speaking to you as long as I live.

~ ~ Robert Peake

From: Human Shade (Lost Horse Press, 2011).