I'm planting darkness in him,
I used to say, of my son.
I used to see myself thumbing
hard little seeds of displeasure
into his ready soil.
What was so unright about him?
We watch "August Rush" together,
and I want to say: I would look
for you ever, in each note of all
crowded symphonies, I would be
twisting my head at the cant
of desperation to find you.
But he is not lost, he is here
to me, near enough so that
when he heaves off the docking
couch, I go to hug him and joke,
"Are you my son? It looks like
I've found you! Are you my
boy?" And he torques
a crooked smile, eyes lit
with pleasure at being attended,
embarrassed by my sudden
shift out of crabdom.
He half-chuckles, "Yeah. I
guess so." Grandparents blessed
me this morning, eight or
nine in a circle at the free
Tai Chi class. They scattered
droplets of outrageous love,
naming new wee ones,
recording who's visiting, when.
I want to express something distinct
from "Have you finished" and
"Will you do," and "Stop that"
tonight. I will look at his head
bowed to chewing and bless him,
I will let his life, the whole of it,
be the mineral joy I absorb into my system.
Reprinted from the literary magazine Final Note
* * *
Maria Melendez publishes Pilgrimage in Pueblo, Colorado, a literary magazine serving a far-flung community of writers, artists, naturalists, contemplatives, activists, seekers, and other adventurers in and beyond the Greater Southwest. University of Arizona Press has published two of her poetry collections: How Long She'll Last in This World (2006), and Flexible Bones (2010), and her essays appear in Sojourns Magazine: Natural & Cultural History of the Colorado Plateau and Isotope: A Journal of Literary Nature and Science Writing. She serves as Contributing Editor for Latino Poetry Review and Acquisitions Editor for Momotombo Press, a chapbook publisher featuring prose and poetry by emerging Latino writers.