Rocket Boy (for Paul)


Before your birth,
much to everyone’s surprise, you spoke.
You said, Let me come,
I won’t be any trouble

And how pleased you were to be here!
Lassoer of souls, you rode your wild horses
without fear on the arms of the sofa,
sailed on the coat tails of passing strangers,

engaged with the reticent, mined a rare sparkle
from the downcast eye of the man behind the till,
sang like the Apostle at midnight,
and all we prisoners heard you.

Should have known you were running on rocket fuel
like the short-burst jet plane you somehow knew
more about than I did,
the day we went to the aerodrome.

The little skinny guy with a sprinter’s brilliant energy
wasn’t any trouble; trouble is – this vast emptiness
of sky.