Amebas, Cooper says, move
by changing the shape of their body, while
a jaded seriousness plays camouflage with
his black, thick-framed glasses – he’s only seven.
He makes me worry, when he looks so serious,
he makes me worry because I’m a woman and that’s
what we do (all the time), so I worry he might grow up too
fast, out of the dinosaur pj’s and into the wrinkled look on his face.
I worry he might find out Santa does not really
exist, just like that far away land (where gramps
hurts and dreams – wishing he had taken him to that
baseball game that day instead of watching TV, a last game)
I worry he might see that it is not always
death that does part the lovers, but that when he
does part anything, he (a hungry mad-eyed wolf) savors
its prey and there is no peace, no redemption.
I worry he might learn too soon that
people do not always keep their promises
but just cross their heart and then die
without peace, without redemption
not because they are bad people but because
good people do bad things just like bad people do bad things,
the secret (the noise late at night under your bed and in your closet) is
that bad things slip out of people’s hearts each time the clock strikes twelve.
Adults, they keep black, black and pasty secrets in
their pockets (they all do) instead of lollipops and gum and marbles
when they have grown out of their dinosaur pj’s and
into the darkness that hides within dusk and dawn.
But most of all, I worry he might not find out. He
coughs until his face turns nightblue and constellations fall out of his eyes.
Tell me more, Coop, I say, please don’t stop.
Please don’t stop.