I have two sons I gave them names

& crooked laughs & skittish brains

& marked them with my absence & my hopes

I sang them songs & called their wrongs

& tried to show them all the ropes

& failing that as all men do

I cooled their fevered brows

& rocked them through

the nightmares that all went away

& came back in the middle of the day

I talked them down off edges

& heard their shredded hearts

& taught them what I know of endings & of starts

& from this dimming vantage of my years

I know I spared them neither love nor tears

I am no wiser on the way

than they on any given day

& all the wars I led them through

have won us what: I couldn’t say

& looking back upon a fading land

that I have failed to understand

I stand as someday they must too

& wonder what it might be like

to meet them somewhere in the night

when we lay down our shields

& all our duties done

in the gathering of fathers & of sons

where we have no more titles only names

where we are made of what we choose

& what we take & what we lose

For all our differences & shame

we’ll meet as men who are the same

& there as they have never done

these aging men whom I call son

will call me by my given name


4 Responses

  1. A moving fantasy, Patrick. The only reservation i have is that it starts and ends tenderly, but has this martial imagery that i find troubling. But then maybe that’s a good thing.

  2. Very, very nice. Very touching. xo

  3. Good stuff, Patrick. Parenthood informs so much, eh?

    Hope you guys are well.


  4. Thanks C & K!

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