Poem by Terri Kirby Erickson (USA)
Published in The Ofi Press issue 50
I used to see them walking, a middle-aged
man and his grown son, both wearing brown
trousers and white shirts like boys in a club,
or guys who like to simplify. But anyone
could see the son would never be a man who
walked without a hand to hold, a voice telling
him what to do. So the father held his son's
hand and whispered whatever it was the boy
needed to know, in tones so soft and low it
might have been the sound of wings pressing
together again and again. Maybe it was that
sound, since the father had the look of an angel
about him, or what we imagine angels should
be—a bit solemn-faced, with eyes that view
the world through a lens of kindness—who
sees every man's son as beautiful and whole.
Terri Kirby Erickson is the author of four collections of award-winning poetry, with a fifth collection, Becoming the Blue Heron (Press 53), forthcoming in 2017. Her work has appeared in Asheville Poetry Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Cutthroat, 2013 Poet's Market, JAMA, NASA News & Notes, The Writer's Almanac,Muse India, storySouth, Literary Mama, American Life in Poetry, Verse Daily, and many others. Awards include the Joy Harjo Poetry Prize and a Nautilus Book Award. She lives in North Carolina. For more information about her work, please visit www.terrikirbyerickson.com.
Image: "Sunset watchers" by Peter Rowley.