Mudlark No. 50 (2013)

Choice Words

Again today my boy sits beneath the lightning-
split hemlock and reads all that I ever let him know
about me on the black marble headstone at his feet: 
my full name, the day I was born, and the day I died.    

Sometimes I catch him drifting off to sleep, 
his head bobbing like a sunflower in rain.  
If I could, I would get up and nudge him
gently so as not to startle him like a nightmare.

If I could, I would whisper in his ear
as he dozed that his life is made up of choices:  
he gets to choose how to pass his time each day;  
he gets to choose who to talk to and who to ignore;
he gets to choose who will fill whatever 
empty spaces need filling in his life.  

I would tell him firsthand 
that when time begins to pass at the speed of death 
there will be nothing left to do but to live 
and relive all the choices of his life spread out before him
like the graves of strangers who have no choice 
but to chew on unspoken words that fill their mouths forever.

Kip Knott | Vespers
Contents | Mudlark No. 50 (2013)