Off to College

You stand so close

fatless gut, lots of curly hair

I stare outside the window

a maple tree

a summer ripe distraction.

A swallow edges down my throat

my jaws clench tight

tin whistles echo in my ears.

I look down at the floor, squeeze back a whine

self-indulgent sorrows

mixed with earnest benedictions for your future.



Your baby stroller we called Lucy

we amble in the dawn light down our leafy street

underneath the whispers of oaks and maples

I feast upon your sleeping eyelids

follow your breath…

Your white frame bed

at almost sleep time

you beg me for a not too scary tale

of pirates, Inca treasures, hermits’ ghosts

your wide eyes strong and endless

alert to every story turn.


Tonight I read this to your mother

in our den made quiet

neater by your absence.

She looked through me

pursed her lips.

I want him home again

so I can put him on the carpet

and just stare at him.