Posts Tagged ‘children

15
Nov
08

James

James
By Darren King [copyright 2008]

Here in this room are pictures of you
and the people who love you –
you with your family and friends,
you and your rock band,
your team mates,
you and a beautiful girl.
I stand across from your father,
his tired eyes red and swollen,
everything I think to say
sounding so lame as when I said it
to myself in the car for practice.
When your mother sees me
she yells my name
and jumps from her chair
as if she’s been waiting,
all this after I’d been away so long
and I remembered then how openly
we discussed spiritual matters.
And here I am with her again
because of you.
She hugs me, she pulls me close,
her voice sounding the way it always had
when she smiled while talking.
I know he’s okay now,
she says hurriedly into my ear,
I know he’s okay.
She pulls me closer
as if to tell a secret,
all the while repeating herself,
I felt him three times today,
three times I felt him,
three times.

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12
Oct
08

Billy, Chad and Tikki Tikki Tembo

Billy, Chad and Tikki Tikki Tembo
By Darren King [copyright 2008]

When my son’s friend peddled his bicycle out of
our neighborhood for what would be his last time
and his life forever separated from our’s,
first by distance and eventually by time,
I thought of you, Billy, and your last day in our First Grade class.

Life provides a list of sorrows and sadnesses
seemingly connected and thirty-odd years later,
I remember now, your moving away.
You displayed and dispensed
justice and had a sense of yourself

you needn’t prove to the other children.
You were a leader worthy to follow and so
I gladly played my role as your right-hand man
on the playground and in the halls of school.
I shadowed you that day in class

and was certain someone would notice
and then point out to embarrass –
the lump I could only feel in my throat.
At recess, with you and another boy
as captains, we were divided into two teams

and played one last game of kickball,
everyone else acting as if nothing
would change later that day
when the dismissal bell rang. Your empty desk
the next morning came as a surprise to me.

I don’t know why. Perhaps it was your nametag
the three-by-five index card, still taped to your desk
which wasn’t your desk anymore. And Mrs. Clancy,
with whom I was hopelessly in love, reading to us and I,
cross-legged at her feet, sat mesmerized by her story

of the Chinese boy and his family who lived in the
wonderful ink-and-wash drawings with fanciful swirls
and the bricked well, the old man sleeping, always by a tree
and the boy, always the boy, in water up to his eyes,
waiting to be noticed, waiting to be rescued.

04
Oct
08

REESE’S FAMILY

By Darren King [copyright 2008]

REESE’S FAMILY

It’s what you wrote
there in our driveway
the weekend after
you turned five –
uppercase letters
in pink sidewalk chalk
perfectly centered across
a score in the pavement.
You drew a large
pink heart
above your words
then stood back
and smiled –
the way one smiles in pride
for his lineage, his name –
this is my home,
these are the people I love,
these people belong to me.

03
Oct
08

First Born

By Darren King [copyright 2008]

Your formal name
is derived from Old English.
But ever since you were born
we preferred its Irish form
meaning spirited;
which more suit
your personality as an infant,
especially as a toddler
and definitely as the
undaunted young man of ten
I drove to hockey on
winter Saturday mornings.
You are your mother
and your father both
when at their very best.
You have inherited
their eccentricities
which can make you
difficult to parent
and for other children
easy to admire.
And when Sage our cat
had to be put down,
you wanted to go with us,
to be there for him.
And if we had let you,
you would have stayed,
I know you would have.
But it was one of those times
(please forgive us)
when we tried not to forget
that you were still just a boy
when we were trying so much
to do the right thing for you,
when nothing else about that
sad, sad day felt right.
But let me say this –
when sorrow is overcome
by bravery
for someone you love,
it means you are too good
for this world of cabbages and kings,
which places you my son
among its saints.




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