(previously published in poetrynow)
On the night our son leaves home
at the age of sixteen, we sit in the back yard
holding hands. The night wind seduces
the candle and departs; we try to name
the constellations. We confuse
Aquila with the Swan and debate
how many stars outline the Pleiades.
Sanborn is playing “Benny.”
There, listen, you say:
Now he wails.
Define wail, I say, and you close your eyes
and your face becomes
more beautiful than Orion:
It is when you forget everything
you spent so long learning and your lips
and your tongue and your breath become
the reed and the horn and the song.