It’s Friday night again, two movies so bad

     another one of your lives has trickled out

 

between them, leading your son along a dark

     gauntlet of minivans to the cinderblock hut

 

for a pee and a cherry ring pop. While you lean

     against a wall marked MEN, your son steps up

 

to the plastic trough. This silence, during which

     the counterweight of now shifts in your chest –

 

you stare into the bone-white movie screen,

     projecting there, in reverse, your role so far:

 

in the first scene you start to regain yourself;

     your son dissolves in increments, your wife

 

grows more expectant; so you untie the knot,

     your paths uncross, a man she’ll soon unthink

 

she loves is seventeen and her first mistakes

     unmake themselves. As animated squirrels

 

arouse, the credits remand you to this place

     where, late summer, the natives pay and park

 

and wait for dusk. Your son returns, zips up:

     “I couldn’t go.” It’s colder now. The stiff

 

walk to your spot in the herd of family cars

     is lit by the movie beam, the fissured space

 

above your heads. From this angle, you see

     the mayfly, flicking wings and bent leg-wires,

 

already old since shedding its pupal skin

     in a runoff pond just hours ago – it loops

 

and scrawls its presumed signatures among

     the light, spellbound and solo. And the plot

 

glides on its track, a dog is named and lost

     and found again. There is no consciousness

 

sky-bluer than this blanket stretched between

     the two of you. Half-goner than half gone.

 

If this is what there is, at least it’s yours.

     Let this be yours. Let it be what there is.

 

 

Originally published in North American Review