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MY SON, SUSPENDED

I drop him off, and get the call
and drive back to his school
to find him slumped against a sign,
one hand in his pocket, etched
with pen-stroked rock bands, pentagrams,
the other waving.

We drive to the mountains,
listen for the avalanche cannon.
He did not speak until he was three.

We pass a field of winesaps.
I tell him that, when he was two,
he loved applesauce, would put
two full spoons into his mouth.

He describes his enemies. I say
write a poem. He does, on a clipboard,
in red pen.

When he was three, he pushed
an olive into his mouth
and looked at me, and swallowed
the whole black seeded lump of it,
white eyes.

He reads his poem: There is a world
and three moons. Two are white and dutiful.

I tell him that I love him, that I have always loved him.
The sun is small.

We drive through Rifle,
stopping at a restaurant that overlooks
the buffalo, though none stands in the lazy grass
outside the window of the ancient
leather booth, order.

The window allows a piece of a moon,
enough to light the veins beneath his temples,
his eyes upon my applesauce.

      — Jeffrey Bahr