You’re eleven years old and you’re at baseball camp
Because that’s the summer your parents decide they can’t stand to pretend to stand
One another anymore
So you’re in the outfield with your brothers’ old glove
Just watching it all
And everything is miles and miles away.
And then it’s August and you’ve come home
And the world has shifted in imperceptibly remarkable ways.
We bike downtown to the beaten down book store beside the 7/11
And you’re flipping through a old Batman comic
As you tell me you don’t think you like baseball.
Middle school with its flitting fancies and flights of ill humor
Sends you shooting up out of all your old clothes and inclinations.
I watch you give your heart to a pretty girl
As my veins are chock full of ice.
July sees me kissing a girl in the dark of a theater sticky with popcorn butter,
And it’s crude and I’m clumsy and I walk out feeling emptied and squeezed so dry
I don’t think I could shed even a tear.
You’re flying and it’s so
If even for just a moment
As the wheels of your red bicycle
Skirt the laws of gravity and leave the earth in a blaze,
Kicking clouds of dust up in your wake.
You wonder that the sky has always been this close,
And you go one mile, and then three, and then seven
Until all becomes a speck on your horizon.
When you reach where you are going,
Will you ever turn your head back and look for me?
I remember the afternoon they found you
The sky was a patchwork of red and the lakes were on fire,
And the world, in all its eccentricities, popped into life so bright it hurt to look.
I was cold, so I put on a sweater and inched closer to the space heater.
The mourning and all the black
Entered our lives with the April rains
Extinguishing all evidence that there was once a person called you.
It rained for a long,
And in the wet world that emerged
The vision of you on that red bicycle
Pranced into my waking dreams
And entangled my restless nights.