In Asgaard, when it was young and the wolves
had not yet begun to howl nor my eyes
begun to dim, we would walk, you and I,
down by the river where it was always raining -
the water sunk deep into the weeds, and the bank
was overrun with activity as everything tried
to get in or out of the churning water - I remember
that your little footsteps squelched as we trod.
My hand clutched yours and we peered into the murky water,
your eyes constantly drawn by the lure of frogs
or the shimmer of salmon. In those days you paused often
and let my words, like that river, wash against you, filling you,
I hope, with some of the wisdom I had found in my travels.
When you were three you hid a duck under a bucket
that day you clomped down the stairs, a brush that dripped
paint like laughter, and the time you sat on the window ledge
and leaned too hard against the fly wire. We all laughed
when your head popped up from amongst the pineapple sage.
I wish you’d come home, son, but not all grown-up. I’d like,
just occasionally, that three old to visit me again so I could
hold him close and maybe try even harder
to imprint what I know must fade.
As it is, standing by the river, the rainbow bridge
shows signs that it fades, and my empty hand throbs with memory -
I feel like I am a duck under a bucket, waiting.