Kenneth Ashworth


For Brian

If they had bundled you home
in blue flannel, crepe paper
draped from the walls,
your shrill cry filling
the room with balloons,

moon-faced; ratcheting the air
like an upturned beetle,
fat and white as a thumb
left too long in water,

and trundled you into
the bed next to me,
I would have been afraid.

The nurse tapped her watch,
covered your eyes with a towel
and blotted your toes.

All I ever knew of you
was a name tattooed
on a stretch of vellum,
and one black footprint
stepping off the page.