In Asgaard, when it was young, the paths still bright,
the shadows gently moving across, never staining,
when the wolves in white winter coats had not yet begun to howl
the coming of the dark, nor my eye yet begun to dim,
we would walk, you and I, down by the river Ermt
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 in the clean mud as we trod.
My hand clutched yours, and we peered into the murky water,
your eyes constantly drawn by the lure of swimming frogs
or the shimmer of flashing 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 earned in my travels.
When you were three you hid a duck under a wooden bucket
and there it stayed until your mother found it 3 days later.
Then there was that day you clomped down the stairs,
a brush in your small hand that dripped paint like laughter,
as if you, the young godling, set forth to paint the rainbow bridge,
and the time you sat on the window ledge of your bedroom and leaned
too hard against the fly wire. We all laughed when your bewildered head
popped up from amongst the white flowers of the daisy bush.
I wish you’d come home, son, but not all grown-up, the man.
I’d like, just occasionally, that three old to visit me again
so I could hold him close, smell his scalp, and maybe try
even harder to imprint upon my mind what I know must fade.
As it is, standing by the slowing river, the rainbow bridge
shows signs that it fades, and my empty hand with its curled fingers,
throbs with memory - I feel like I am a duck under a bucket, waiting.