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My Son Studies Himself

ISSUE:  Winter 1982
Maybe, as you point out when you see
your own photograph, you are just a boy.
Just another boy frozen holding onto

the green watering can. Maybe you’re on the lam
& can’t give out your name. O.K., but
when you spray me with all the water

you have accumulated over the last few months,
I laugh, & hug you, & call you all the names
in the book. You will take over what is left

of my life. You will point to me
holding my own in a photograph
& call me rabbit hutch, & I will believe

your lips as they slip open & then close
like a small trap in the forest
that captures birds, & returns them

unharmed in the nick of time.
Unharmed by the nick of time
I pass the noisy camera on to you

so you may wander into the woods
with Amy’s loving hand
& she can show you faces with names

& lives lived outside our flimsy houses.
People, photos, letters, she hangs onto.
There is so much we must share in this world.

Sometimes it doesn’t seem fair.
You both have lemon custard bellies,
& eyes which free the cats from the night.

I write this to keep everyone alive;
so that we are not part of the past
when this page turns on itself.


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