Free Radicals

Leaves fall
onto the pond

ran­dom par­ti­cles
danc­ing to laws

they couldn’t name
even if the god

that does not exist
descend­ed this moment

and him­self com­mand­ed
them to speak.

Our son sleep­ing
nestles in his stroller

ani­mals no doubt
track­ing with him

through his dreams
the mud of this day.

When he wakes
he’ll say the sto­ry

back to us
plot points

bounc­ing off each oth­er
the way the­se row­boats would do

if all at once their pilots slept
which in its way

is how we got here
bumped and bond­ed

released from our­selves
into this hope

this boy this
his own life.

My Son’s Theology

Sha­hob asks if I believe in God.
I tell him no; he doesn’t ask me why.
Instead, he tells me God is a dust-speck
float­ing on the wind, watch­ing
and wav­ing, though we can’t see Him.

And God cre­at­ed noth­ing, Sha­hob says,
except Him­self, but He’s not lone­ly,
and He’s not sad, so we laugh, pic­tur­ing God
loung­ing pool­side at some Hol­ly­wood
superstar’s house. We don’t dis­cuss God’s gen­der.

Cool drink in hand—when I ask,
it’s orange juice of course—God’s wear­ing
pre­cise­ly the gun-met­al-blue sun­glass­es
Sha­hob con­vinced us just last week
to buy him for the beach. He puts them on now—

they’re right next to his bed—
leans back again­st the wall and waves.
“And if you do notice God is there,”
he says, sit­ting up straight,
rais­ing his eye­brows and smil­ing,

don’t be afraid to say hel­lo,
or give Him a high-five.” Then my son
lifts God’s bev­er­age in the gen­er­ous wel­come
he imag­i­nes divin­i­ty is and grins,
Just make sure He rais­es His hand first.”

My Son Asks Me To Make A Poem from His Dream

I met a man in old and tat­tered clothes
walk­ing alone along a moon­l­it road.
His face was black, his beard gray, his load,
the years that bent his back, the heavy blows
of Time’s hard ham­mer. His right hand gripped
a wood­en staff, his left…there was no left.
The stump below his elbow, the scars—he’d been whipped—
marked him as a thief, and I won­dered what theft
so old and thin a man could pos­si­bly com­mit
to deserve such tor­ture. Out of respect
I did not speak, but when he passed he spit
at me and vain­ly tried to stand erect.

The vision end­ed there. I went to tell
my king, “Repent! Or live a liv­ing hell!”

Back to For My Son, A Kind of Prayer