letter to Sam

by David T. Gay

letter to Sam

The planks in my one year rental

hold up the gray plastic table

on this, the last day of the year.

You are alone with me now, Son

and waves keep hitting me inside

spilling out my eyes but I can't

let you see: you're young and only

blood on the screen, born of a game

can matter tonight, but I know

a man waits in your future.

He's you, looking back at his father

wondering if we loved each other.

We wait for midnight.

A year ago your mom left me.

I don't know if you see in me

a wrinkled Rumpelstiltskin chump

gray failure of a beta male

abandoned to his ancient wounds

as winter elves creep to his hearth.

Whatever kook your mom has dredged

to replace me, he won't know you

from the first moment you emerged

glistening wet from her body.

You and I have done so much together,

tried so many things: soccer, basketball,

kung fu, fencing, boy scouts, but none of these

meant much to us, not to you, not to me

when I was a boy. We don't like these things.

We like drama, anime, and game play,

piano, lifting weights, and stair stepping.

You and I are the same man, different times.

If I could go back with one breath to change

myself in the past, even now, I'd say

believe in yourself; I believe in you.

You will find a black river lined with stones

where orcs will give up their hunt and the cold

wraiths of solitude can't swim; take the boat

your parents made and cast away the shores.

Inside you'll find mittens and a mirror

scrawled with this note: you are beautiful

as Earth seen from the sky. You are brilliant

as space and time. You play this game better

than I ever could. My pride in you roars.

Your musical spider dance makes me smile.

If only I could balloon like a whale

I'd give you all I could breathe, see, or dream

but I only have a pencil, and write

just this reflection: You will survive.

You will find a young woman who loves you

better than you deserve. You will succeed

at working hard. Tell yourself yes, always

yes. Fasten your hope to the stars, no less.

As for villains, dismiss them like ashes.

Never let them see where you're hurt.

When you fail, remember most of the time

we fail at everything we try.

But I gave you life and taught you God is love

and you must believe the improbable

can be done because you and I are one.

Sometimes it takes a hundred tries

like the boss battles in this game

but keep improving and you'll win!

As you put down this mirror, one whisper

comes from the mist on the river:

I love you so much that when I am gone

I will be with you, warming you

keeping you company always