For Alexander, Turning 13

(Numbers xiii-xv)

Your grandfather steps lightly over the cold kitchen floor

almost jauntily.  Don’t be fooled: he’s feeling his way with his feet,

the world unfolding its bleached parchment,

hues shoaling in the lavish glare.  Meanwhile, secreted

to practise your reading (dutiful, impervious, bored)

may something of its intent

 

remain with you: an understanding that a map of the world’s contours

begins with an ascent, requires you to crest

the hill country of the heart, whence

the vast concatenation manifests.

 

Below you, the future’s unsuspecting pastures and fences,

its cantillation of distant beacons and fire towers

spreads before you.  One day, you too will have to report back, from notes

you might leave to yourself as a record of what you saw.  Or might not.

Verse Wisconsin, Fall 2013