by Michael R. Burch
for Jeremy Michael Burch
Every day we whittle away at the essential solidity of him,
and every day a new sharp feature emerges:
a feature we’ll spend creative years: planing, smoothing, refining,
trying to find some new Archaic Torso of Apollo, or Thinker . . .
And if each new day a little of the boisterous air of youth is deflated
in him, if the hours of small pleasures spent chasing daffodils
in the outfield as the singles become doubles, become triples,
become unconscionable errors, become victories lost,
become lives wasted beyond all possible hope of repair . . .
if what he was becomes increasingly vague—like a white balloon careening
into clouds; like a child striding away aggressively toward manhood,
hitching an impressive rucksack over sagging, sloping shoulders,
shifting its vaudevillian burden back and forth,
then pausing to look back at us with an almost comical longing . . .
if what he wants is only to be held a little longer against a forgiving *****;
to chase after daffodils in the outfield regardless of scores;
to sail away like a balloon
on a firm string, always sure to return when the line tautens,
till he looks down upon us from some removed height we cannot quite see,
bursting into tears over us:
what, then, of our aspirations for him, if he cannot breathe,
cannot rise enough to contemplate the earth with his own vision,
unencumbered, but never untethered, forsaken . . .
cannot grow brightly, steadily, into himself—flying beyond us?
Keywords/Tags: child, childhood, boy, son, growing up, maturation, puberty, adulthood, manhood, flight, flying, soaring