It was ‘eighty-nine,
and you were six. Your brother
and sister, off at friends’.
You couldn’t, ever really. Your oxygen stayed that.
Your frailty slowed friend-visits
but not friend-making.
I wanna see Batman.
Can I have popcorn?
Sure (with your one little tooth, so sore).
Perfect day for a movie.
A Wednesday, maybe. Heated June air and the searing stole your warm huffs of
You knew your culture, better than most at any age.
Transformers, Smurfs, Nintendo, Matchbox cars. Atari. Spidey.
Tom Cruise, Maverick, Harry and the Hendersons.
Kevin Bacon (and don’t even say it).
You and I didn’t care that people watched us as we rolled in the tank of oh-two. Their problem.
They (not all) didn’t see why we could laugh
or wait for the reward of the wide screen. They couldn’t see the origin story
of a boy who on days rare and soaring
over all manner of evil invisible antecedent microscopic shadowy unpreventable
Your soft curved hands rubbed the velvet as I lifted you into the seat.
Cooling cycle helped you
Thanks to Miss Ballard, you could spell ‘Batman’.
Thanks to Mrs. Haubert,
you and I had confidence.
The confidence of knowing for awhile you could walk
(she taught us that at two,
In the living room, as you crawled/hurting/smiling
and as I felt so alone,
that is, till she waltzed in with plain talk
and wide teeth, a former Sister now teacher of the forgotten she agonized,
she administered the elixir of affection
The confidence of knowing for a short while you could be home,
you could go to stores,
you could go see Batman.
Thanks to your brother and sister and your friends and theirs,
you and I learned it was okay,
okay to play now. Needles and white coats another day.
Okay to think about today, not tomorrow.
Okay to be a kid.
The missteps were many. We all tried, in our way.
The four-wheeler from your father.
Humanity from Vicky Lynn (when others didn’t come by).
Irony and chuckles from a big man who called you Bonehead (You’re a Bonehead! you’d retort.)
Your countenance was forgiveness, is
your evening star.
Ruptured lives through the straits of surcease,
river rocks cold
when you left. Like that,
into the star.
I failed you all on many days, before and after,
but on that day in
as the grand dark knight of promise loomed above us
and you screeched with joy
at the Joker Nicholson,
We were together,
we were happy,
you were not in pain
and breaths not stolen by the genome
bones not broken by body’s fate
breaths of yours, Andrew,
pealed and rippled across an afternoon
we had all to ourselves.