by JOHN HOLMES
HE LOOKS at me with his eyes and I know nothing. He says a few
Words of a sound but no communication. Yes. All right. I doubt
My own existence, but he is fourteen, and being a father is not new,
Except that I am his father and want to break something or shout.
What he is trying to say is that all this has happened before.
He is not saying that his grandfather’s eldest son didn’t shiver,
Confronting the tribe, past landscapes of a door, another door,
And a door at the back of the house that blew open to Never.
He reminds me of myself, as he stumbles over his feet or a tool.
He has too few words and I have too many. We speak across a thin
Long looped dangling wire. I cannot understand his work at school.
I cannot do algebra, not helpfully, and not much to my chagrin.
But to fail him even there is to feel again the little hammer
On — what? Conscience? Of course my heart. But pride, insight,
The incommunicability of love, and of such love the simple grammar
Fumbled, and in us both the silence and the need and appetite.