You ask me to send you money for shoes.
I send you a pair you’ve left here.
As I’m looking for a box to put them in –
You know how bad I am at wrapping –
I come across a bag of sweets,
Those tangy chewable ones you’ve always loved,
That I left in a drawer in the kitchen table and forgot about,
So I stuff the bag into one of the shoes,
Scribble a quick letter,
And seal the box with the tape I find
Under the table,
After searching the whole house.
And I sigh the sigh that presages lost tears
And wonder what your thoughts will be.
Those sweets grow a memory
On my walk to the post office;
That little boy with the strange tooth,
With the fevered smile I thought was death approaching
Until the cold went away;
The little pedant with the high-pitched voice
Conducting his own birthday parties;
The growing guardian angel
Always there when his sister needed him.
The boy who ran away.
And now you’ve lived a quarter of a century,
I wonder what time has done to us all.
I often think you mistake my concerns for you
For an absence of love.
It’s the opposite,
For O, a late birthday poem