A Father’s Gentle Guidance

now he’s used to
the same familiar
tom-tom rhythm
guiding the rivers of his mind’s
tributaries polluted by
tepid word streams
the worst of which
so simple
misappropriates Binet
pours casually
from father to son
so easy
to pound a single label
without meaning
to stake
shifting sands
until name-stung
the tag plants
water recedes and
solidifies
now he’s used to
the same familiar
dumb-dumb rhythm

(7 April 2015)

Among the Lollies

He is air-bound for a second
all three years, or two or four,
our estimate less important
than his almost levitation,
a would-be superhero
if not for the grasping voice
of the fearsome, shouting hand
berating him and apportioning flight
in singular, curious rage.

Her strange shame recalls
marshmallows
they used to offer as
reward for waiting,
that time’s hands might gather
double happiness,
but they never tested the parents.

Her wait earlier,
all false face,
now rises to acrid peak
and he is

weightless

and we wait, too stunned
to play hero against
mediocre, sour villains
who roam life’s aisles
with bitter hearts
no sweet can remedy.

(April 4 2015)