which boy?

I sat, once, at the top of some back-stage steps

and listened to a twenty-year-old

(with a shy smile and red hair)

practice one of the Bach Suites for violin;

my back against one door jamb,

my feet against the other.


He commented once, after rehearsal,

on how clean my counters were,

and shyly ate four pieces of my banana bread.

The next day I listened to Jeff Buckley sing

“Lover, You Should Have Come Over”

twelve times in a row

and wondered about what I was too old for,

what I was too young for,

if it was, in fact, too late.


Today as I carried the screens to the basement

and checked the litter box I caught a

glimpse of Second Son sitting on his unmade

bed strumming the chords to some unknown

but recognizable tune;

and his features were blurred,

his hair over his eyes,

and he could have been any young man,

every young man.


I caught myself staring at his picture just earlier today

laughing toddler eyes and sailor hat

tiny little teeth

unsullied joy.


I can’t help but wonder now if the things

we can’t let go of are the things which kill us

slowly slowly bit by bit

and if the things that really matter always

have to be the things we lose.


Jeff Buckley; Lover, You Should Have Come Over


6 Responses to “which boy?”

  1. 1 First Son
    December 15, 2010 at 9:06 am

    Beautiful, and a great picture too.

  2. 2 jill
    December 15, 2010 at 9:23 am

    So lovely. I’m filled with nostalgia for something I can’t quite name.

  3. December 15, 2010 at 5:15 pm


    I was just reading Lorrie Moore’s story “Go Like This” in her book “Self-Help“, about a young mother planning her own suicide in the face of untreatable breast cancer. About leaving her daughter and her husband.

    Then I read your post straight afterwards.

    I don’t know what to say…but I know these stories will be with me for some time to come.

  4. December 15, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    Sad. Just feel sad after reading this.

  5. December 15, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    That is hauntingly beautiful. A familiar feeling to me.

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