Photo Credit: K. Yasuhara
In the middle of an afternoon
I walked past my son who was digging
again into the earth of our backyard and he
said to me that he was going to take all
of the dirt in the world and put it in a pile
beside him but before I could say
this was an impossible task he showed me
the small mound that he had already made by digging
with his yellow plastic shovel and to him this
seemed like a lot of dirt. I understood then
that his entire world was right there
in the backyard, and mine was,
regrettably, a world away.
I have written so many words to you;
so many strewn across the floor
in every room of my house, some trapped
beneath a paw of the dog under the kitchen table,
others blowing against the walls of the garage
like wind stirring up a plastic bag
in an alley. Sometimes I feel that I have lost you
to the adrenaline that keeps us all going.
I see you, briefly, in a yellow car,
and you smile when you pass by,
and this makes me hopeful,
but then I remember you
are probably writing in your journal
about the mysteries of life. It is not you.
There is a seriousness about your days,
a feeling that I can’t seem to penetrate.
Now I am the one stuck being thoughtful,
and if you leave, it will only get worse.
If you leave, I will never be able to write
another paragraph, or even a sentence.
If you leave, you will take away my love.
All my life, I thought it could not be true.
One minute, you hear a soft piano
playing in the corner of an otherwise vacant room,
and you think it’s only mood music. You never believe
that the music could actually be telling you something.
I’ve wanted to listen to you, but there was never
a right time. Now, seasons change and I barely notice.
We all prepare for death in our own ways.
Dust collects on the table day after day,
and before you know it, there is a mess that you
never saw coming. You’ll press on, as you’ve always have,
and I’ll watch time pass because I’ll finally be aware of it.
I hope to make this up to you in our next life. I promise
to do all of the little things, like clean the bathroom
and come home with Chinese food, without being
asked. I think you will like that. I think
that will make a difference.
David Polochanin is a teacher, former journalist and poet in Connecticut. His journalism has been published in The Boston Globe, Providence Journal, Hartford Courant, and Christian Science Monitor. His poetry has been published by Native West Press and will appear in the journals Sentence and Negative Suck. He is currently on a yearlong sabbatical to write poetry and fiction, and he was recently awarded the James Marshall Fellowship at the University of Connecticut, his alma mater. He is married and the proud father of a son and daughter. He enjoys basketball, watches excessive hours of it, and right now is consumed with trying to stop a squirrel from invading his birdfeeder. Email: dpolo22[at]comcast.net