I missed my turn
forgot the money on the counter
almost let the beans burn
soaked the pot among useless banter
called my mom to talk about his soccer career.
He was eighteen until twenty-three
why are you asking? are you drinking beer
you forgot again, why are you so distracted
you need to stop working, she says
I already do what I love
teach, write, love, hate, soak the soul
pray to candles, talk to birds at Walmart
while my daughter rolls her eyes
you are different, Ma
and then she tells me her warrior
ways and vow I had nothing to do with that
part of her.
I write poems in parking lots
and dream that you are in my head again
kissing my collarbone
singing songs on my bare skin
you already did that didn’t you?
They wanted him, she says
it broke his heart
leaving soccer to come to Montreal
you know that they had one second of silence
when he died?
Yeah, Ma, I know.
He was a true champion
but he didn’t make money
they paid for his food though (wow)
and his accommodations
and he saw all of Greece.
He was born in the wrong time.
Aren’t we all?
No, we’re not.
okay, I have to write a poem.
Do you want to see his love letters?
And of course, I cried
Yes, and I didn’t sleep that night.
I held her close as you held me.
I confess to you my original sin
recycle the empty bottles of gin
encounter ghosts in flames
break down my barrier with word games
where no man has been before.
All this to say
you do remind
me of him.