You fall into your window seat like a stork
spearing an alewife, my little cabbage,
and you eat so much cabbage! Chatter
harrows the fog-lit air. I wad napkins with spilt milk,
socks explode from your rat-tail shoes,
you suck two straws and snicker Farty Mart,
but when you have nothing else to say,
you say, I love you, Mom,
more times an hour than I can bear.
Oh my sweetheart, my barometer,
my wet-nose calf, my chick—
I grimace at a sudden knife of sun, you kick my chair
and bellow, What’s wrong?
early-alert system, wired and ready,
grubby hackles spiked,
bitten fingernail held to the wind.
Moo a tune, you can’t fool me.
I hear you:
Look out, a big one’s brewing, batten the hatches,
I love you, Mom,
I’m ducking my head,
I love you, Mom, I’m ready to run.
[from How the Crimes Happened (CavanKerry Press, 2010)]
Today the boy who was the main character in that poem is driving his junker an hour and a half down Route 95 to Augusta, where he has never driven before, to catch a bus into Boston, a city in which he has never been alone, to transfer to a commuter train line that he has never taken before to travel to a college that has accepted him into the class of 2016, where he will spend the night and the next day with people he has never seen before and then take a return trip back up to Maine, arriving home well after midnight after driving the junker along dark curvy roads spiced with moose and drunkards.
I am trying hard not to think about this too much.