Your dish of change included a tie clip
and pocket knife, a book of matches
and ring – all things a boy might like,
and I did.
You had that easy way, a calm I never
saw broken. I know better now. Our
pleasure in a river forgets the
dislodging of rocks and trees.
But thank you! Thank you
for keeping it cool
to never be short with me.
When I see you now, you’re at the table,
your cards down under flattened palms.
You smile at some joke,
and make a little one of your own.
I see your teeth, the
bushiness of brow behind your glasses.
And again: you’re on the porch,
in a fold-up chair.
A car goes by. Grandma’s not ready yet.
In an hour it’ll be too hot. But for now
you’re content. The grass is mowed.
Your shoes are shined.
I can’t stop my sweaty play
to sit on the step and hear what you say.
But I’d like to.
I’d like to catch my breath for once