The Prodigal’s Progress

The gasp that should have come when i saw you walking toward me

after all this time of pulling shrapnel from my heart, sweeping pieces

into a pile like dry leaves curling toward a match i couldn’t strike

without burning the you out of us, though we were no more than ash,

blown into drifts beneath the nails where your pictures hung, until i

snatched them down in a fury and put them away where they wouldn’t

be found in boxes in the attic, to the left of the stairs, behind the bins

of lights and baubles that you loved more than presents at Christmas,

when you were small, with the smile that melted me, like the one you

wear now because of the child who has melted you, proving the prodigal

did not return alone, but with a son of his own who surely brought the

old man to his knees, like me on mine, opening my arms with a ragged sigh.


dsh © 2.26.14