I wish you a thousand white flags. One flag for each guilt.
Guilt for a father who worked himself out of my young life,
for not pulling me out of second grade, away from the elder-women
who once scared the shit into my seven year-old shorts.
I wish you a new sense of hearing. I wish you to hear
the maple tree you and dad planted and all these years
how it grew and spoke to you, its subtle voice like a breeze
in its own shadow, a long drawn out breath of gratitude.
I wish you new vision. I wish you that one male and one
female grackle in springtime. The same grackles we saw
at Lake Meade, where three-foot goldfish and silver
striped bass ate the popcorn we fed them. I wish your soul
to rest into the birds’ dizzying love-ritual, into
that one simple need on which all others depend.