Nephew One Day Writes A Poem
Until then it will still be the knee scrapes
and studying dog poop in the yard,
this youthful era of collecting insects with his younger brother
and likely past the moment where he blew kisses into the stands
from the basketball court when he scored.
I cheered him on like an ass. Dad said it’d have to stop soon,
the show-boating. I agreed as apology.
So, one day my nephew is going to write a poem.
My sister messaged me to say,
“Guess who volunteered for the creative writing club at school?”
I didn’t have to guess, but I played along,
giving her that follow-through when it comes to good news.
I have a heart and believe pride swells it,
so with the information I was already in Atlanta, sitting in back of his classroom,
doing awful things to kids in my imagination,
to those bastards who didn’t applaud or, worse, were like I was at age six,
displaying my genitals while the teacher talked.
I’m sure he will read with a confused and perfect wonder
and maybe his fingers will tremble (like mine still do at readings)
and he will look at Mom who will get used to it after a while,
once he gets a lot of attention,
but she’ll be tearing up and laughing at herself for being such a soft
and frail thing (where else would her poet son get it?), and then Dad will give his
“Don’t blow a kiss” face and my nephew will do that smiling act he does,
receding back into himself when busted for minor naughtiness.
As a reward for his literary heroism I’ll extract treats from lunch bags in back,
sneak them to the now-famous poet once we make the car.
My sister will find a way to slap me without him seeing it. She’s so good at it.
And as he gets older he will write about his life as he understands it,
or doesn’t understand it, and maybe he will call me from time to time
to say his suburban life is killing him as a teenager
and I will side with his parents
and he’ll get mad and call me and my husband a bunch of fags,
and I’ll love the anger and passion because I’ll see myself in him and know
it won’t be so prolonged as with me when I ran the country—road, water, sky—
to get away from all I’d rush back to eventually, to thank and hold and love.
My nephew will one day write a poem and then a series of them
and, because I know his heart already, he will perpetuate affection
and learn through his work the power of forgiveness and the luxury
of beauty. He will learn to protect and destroy his brothers,
and then choose which to perfect for the duration.
I don’t know what I will ever teach him about his heart.
But I can help draw him to it, with pen or pencil first.
When he’s ready.
But for now it’s still this. Me as uncle. Me as spectator,
revolving around the globe of him
and observing through the telescope of his mother,
a woman who goes back and forth with me on videos I can send him
from my phone, always of me talking to him and to her and talking too much,
cursing sometimes on accident
yet always ending with I love you.
(Please also connect with me at http://www.facebook.com/DamonFMarbut)