In the Dream, We Speak as Equals
Just before I wake, I point at you and say,
“Look, you’re taller than me”.
You, in white shirt and dress slacks, your temples graying,
dressing for another commute to work
in the ’63 Impala, throw a puzzled smile.
“No, you’re kidding” you say.
I search for my shoes, late for work like you.
Now I stand only to your chest,
like when I was eight and catching your fastball.
Just before I shave, I hook a finger and say,
“Come stand here close and see”.
We, now back-to-back and smiling, your hair full white,
gaging height with hands, amused with the thought
of time out of joint, share a friendly laugh.
“See? We’re the same” you say.
I glance at the clock, crave a coffee before the drive.
Now we stand equal height,
like when I was twelve and learning your hook-shot.
Just before I leave, I wave a hand and say,
“I won’t clock out ’til three”.
You, in tee shirt and pajama pants, your pate near barren,
shuffling to the couch for another episode
of Waiting for the End, flash a pained grin.
“Come give a hug” you say.
I take you in arms, for a moment unhurried.
Now you stand only to my chin,
like when I was sixteen and dodging your outrage.
In all our fifty years, we never spoke like this,
like men, like equals who know the way of life.
I was the child, then you were the child.
In the decade since, you sometimes visit before the alarm,
and we share a gift that life could never afford us.
My book, The End of an Ordinary Life: A Memoir in Verse, just won the Writer’s Digest Self-Published eBook prize for poetry, 2017.