Once, my father took me to the Rockaways
during a hurricane
to see how the ocean was behaving,
which made my mother furious, whose love
was correct, protective.
We saw a wooden jetty crumble. We saw water
rise to the boardwalk, felt the wildness
of its spray
That night there was silence at dinner,
A storm born of cooler, more familiar air.
always was riding his delightful errors
into trouble. Mother waited for them, alertly,
the way the oppressed
wait for their historical moment.
Weekdays, after six, I’d point my bicycle
toward the Fleet Street Inn
to fetch him for dinner. All his friends
were there, high-spirited lonelies, Irish,
full of laughter.
It was a shame that he was there, a shame
to urge him home. Who was I, then, but a boy
who had learned to love
the wind, the wind that would go its own way,
regardless. I must have thought damage
is just what happens.