I think it’s four in the morning there

and he’s had a beer or ten,

his voice loaded with the loneliness

of evenings together as father and son

we lost to the war


I sense he senses I’m finally getting old

The diminutive bull he once feared

hobbles through native grasses,

sits transfixed for hours watching

eagles circle canyons and mesas,

kneels crookedly in meadows

scouting for signs of elk, deer and fox,

and can say with certainty at night,

“that was cougar, that was owl”


When the boy I’ve lost in the confusion of living

talks politics, music and women,

I wonder what he’ll think when I confess

I want my corpse burned rather than

wait two hundred years for it to rot

This, I always decide, must also wait

until I can assure him with a casual voice

I’m calm with my karma


Until I can be so brave I repeat

tales of how I came before him,

of how I still want to roam in the wind

with the spirits of coyotes, and then

we hang up thousands of miles apart

with everything we intended to say

unsaid, promising to ourselves we’ll get

to it another time when it feels right