223/365: A Wish for Someone's Winding

my father and I in what could be 1976

my father and I in what could be 1976

Here's the spot in your closet where you would lie down
as a toy among toys so you could not be found.
And here you are in roller skates so heavy
your feet were as weighted stones that needed to be pushed.
These are the dimples that were your five-year-old knuckles,
the ones you used to count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
This is the leather box you wouldn't let them take,
because you'd whispered into it and pretended it knew.
Here you are squinting in your cousin's clothes
on that last day before you had to go back in the car
when the sand stuck to your feet all the way home.

The loosened spring of age has revealed itself,
an unwinding so slow
you almost missed its unnerving ventricular flutter,
but this is no nostalgia.
This is the long goodbye of a terminal child.

If only you were in that closet again now,
light streamed in bright bars through dusty louvers,
and you could be that toy among toys with its wind-up key,
that extra limb silver even in the dark,
sure to solicit someone's winding,
if only they could find you.


I am writing one poem every day in 2016, and I am using the hashtag #365poems to document my progress.