My son, at seven, walks beside me

past the food carts on Alder Street,

past that toy store he adores,

but I hardly notice.

The bright September sun

drips through the amber-leaved trees

and falls like sap onto his dark mop of hair.

One hand clutches a robot 

that transforms into a truck, 

and without looking up, 

his other finds mine,

his slender brown fingers interweaving,

and squeezing, pulling me forward

out of the whipping-shed of the past,

out of whatever memory tugs the back of my hair

and says:  “Look at me, look at me.”

He still sits on my lap sometimes,

that too snaps me back to the moment,

climbing up, 

leaning with the full measure of his body 

to place his ear to my heart.  

It’s grateful ignorance, that — 

still too young to think himself too old.

But I know, I know

soon enough, he’ll pull away

as he does now 

my hand grasping only air, and him running off

to dance in that sparkling fountain.


— AE Hines



Originally published in Windfall: A Journal of Poetry of Place, Spring 2016 issue.  


© 2017 by AE Hines.  All Rights Reserved.  

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