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