August 2006,
driving home for lunch,
a long-dead folk singer warbling
that sentimental tune about
staking a path in life,
which clutches your throat
as you consider
your 11-week-old child
and the dreams
that will call his own name.

You won’t hear the song again
until the following Father’s Day,
when its familiar chords drift
from the PA speakers
while you sit by the swimming pool,
holding a paperback dampened
by the splashing
of kids in the shallow end.

You, no longer a father,
smile at the dewy musings
the song once inspired,
just minutes before
they called you with the news
that changed everything.

I ought to be hating this,
you think as you sit by the pool,
but part of you wants to believe
that the song’s return
actually means something.

In memory of Maxwell Arthur Roth
May 31-August 14, 2006