The one with the slender body and easy eyes,
with a face carved from his darling mother,
whom you miss so, her skin resembling lace.
It was his laugh you miss most, him unable to
call out to you in those last moments and you
unable to go to him, hold him, relieve the pain.
You grip grief like a memento on the mantle.
I’ve seen it in your face, dark and gray. I watched
faith collide with events that sometimes befall small
boys, how you battled what came next, defying
the shadow that threatened to devour you without
a bite, reimagining a life in anger, the searing guilt that
no one could know, let alone understand – but you
never wanted understanding and you never wanted
anyone to know. So I sat you down and fed you because
food, I say, as though that is my answer when everything
else fails and you were not interested, but in time began
to pick at the dish I put before you as though you were
playing connect the dots. I asked you to tell me more about
the dream, how realistic it was, how you woke with a scream,
crushed under the weight of how real it seemed, until that scream
curdled the black blood that ran through me, how it poured out
of you, a blood that rent the tree canopy in two, unnerving
everything on land and in the ocean, rattling even the stars.
Michael Biegner has had poems published in Blooms, Poetry Storehouse, Silver Birch Press, Silkworm, WordPeace, and the Poets To Come anthology, in honor of Walt Whitman’s 200th birthday. His prose poem, “When Walt Whitman Was A Little Girl,” was made into a video short by North Carolina filmmaker Jim Haverkamp, where it has competed at various film festivals around the world and is available for viewing on Vimeo. Michael was a finalist in the 2017 Northampton Arts Council Biennial Call To Artists.