On March 22nd, 2018

One-Man Band

I remember his darkest secrets as instruments
tied to his little body, harmonica glued to a hanger,
Simon and Garfunkel lyrics copied copiously,
magic marker ships sailing across his pants;
his love of ellipses brings me to this place,
finding sheet music again, marked and wrinkled
as if unwanted, like a baby about to be given
away, ink on its foot, vernix in its creases.
Following movement with those eyes from day one
I wrote for him, deep blue they were, then marbled.
He tested color-blind for school, choosing
not simply the wrong answers, but exactly
the answers the sight-deprived would indicate,
much to the examiner’s excitement. We laughed,
certain he could see the world as clearly as anyone,
and besides, an artist’s genes were there for the taking.
I came when I made him, like my parents before me
under the china-berry tree of stifled pleasure-sound
when summer, summer was singing and now I find
he’s here again, looking at me as my mouth searches
plum, papaya, paradise crawling on my belly and finding
food. Never again will nourishment be the same,
I thought. And still he comes to me, ritualistically
gripping down, tablature on his sleeve, organic
diaper in his trouser pocket, holding his daughter
out for me to love and relinquish—he’s a one-man band
at three again, showing me the words as I try to picture
what he sees: gray for green, brown for purple,
cornucopia of muted color, silent oh’s of pure, relentless loss.

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