by Leonard M Hawkes

On the northern shore
The edges of our lives met:
My proper, well-aged,
Educated security,
His broken, youthful,
Lawless anxiety;
And we shared the water,
The winter, and
The warmth of the Earth:
A mutual healing
Bubbling up from sulphuric
Chambers far below.

"This makes me feel better,"
He said, then said it again.
"I've had a lot of trouble.
"See where the bullet entered
And then came out here.
"It was my own father,
"I wish we could make it good again.
"I've been in jail.
"But I have a job,
"I'll get back in shape,
"Maybe find someone,
"Maybe have a baby."

I listened reflectively
Read his still young body:
The round smeared scars,
The twisted re-sewn
Mutilated abdomen,
The fair light patches
Of axillary hair
Read his splendid profile
Against the western sky,
Read his averted gaze,
Knew his broken spirit--
At "only twenty-three."


Author's Note: President's Day at the hot spring

Posted on 02/20/2007
Copyright © 2023 Leonard M Hawkes

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 02/20/07 at 04:52 AM

I like the setting of the hot springs - a place of possible healing, the contrast between the two of you, your detailed description of this young man.

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