Last flight into Mineta,
Tuesday and ten days to be my son,
airport to front porch is full of talk, small and round about …
He’s chain smoking,
but he won’t smoke inside even though I don’t care.
I don’t care.
He stands, he never sits Wednesday, Thursday, Friday…
I listen to him speak, enunciate “she” in staccato
“sh-e wore robes, carried a basket,”
and his words purge up and outward,
expelled and onward through desert dust swallowed,
sands he says that gorge on simple sensibilities.
And, now he spits fragments, grit, extended vowels and elongated syllables
over cracked lips. Their sounds fall
piling round his boots…
I think he wants me to stoop,
lift his words, gather them together into reason,
some underlying principle,
maybe just kick each word under the couch …
I cannot be sure Saturday, Sunday, Monday
sh-e begged, sh-e begged, and ... but “we could do nothing.”
I know this is just a token, one token only,
a new vantage point from which to look upon the boy,
the boy I raised on matchbox cars and macaroni and cheese Tuesday, Wednesday …
He says no more of her or anything else that doesn’t include a laugh.
He rubs his hands together palm to palm, smells them often.
Thursday he will go with a smile.
But sh-e ... she, she … he knows he will leave her with me,
pleading for help
clutching that damned basket until all life bled out.