A day in the forest and a shared moment of wonderment bring a father and his teenaged son together.
Among the last of the raspberries
we find scat seeded about, canes
pushed over without care, tufts of hair
sticking to the black juice of berries.
Arms carry the proof of hours
reaching between thorns, lower leaves
pushed aside to find the darkest,
ripest part of our delight. My son,
who has begun to change, stands
thirty yards away, picks disinterestedly,
asking how soon before we can leave.
Hair sprouts everywhere on his body:
there’s more in the nose and ears, eyebrows
gone mad. I’d like to say this siren song
that calls him away will disappear in time,
music fading into the hollow bend of a tree,
but no one knows where the notes will lead him.
Instead I bow my head, a penitent working
through prayers to the sweet forgiveness
of this precious wood that feeds us, to these
brief moments we have before this boy refuses
to spend even a few hours in our company.
It’s his shout that interrupts my failed attempt
at something holy, that brings me around
to his jabbing finger, harried eyes pointing
to a young bear scrambling across the path
and into the brush. In the silence that follows
the crash, I’m afraid I’ve lost something
I won’t be able to retrieve, though I know
my son still stands among these brambles.
Originally published in The Least of These (Michigan State University Press, 2010)
Editor’s Note: Todd Davis has been a frequent contributor to the poetry page. Read more of his work here.
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