For Alexander, Turning 13
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