Getting There

By Christopher Buckley Christopher Buckley
Time to give up
grieving my mother’s loss,
faulting my father and
his Neolithic moral certitude
about every detail
on the evening news,
his general absence
hanging like the gray
sheets on the line.

Never mind how
mismatched in the heart,
I should be grateful
they were there at all,
for that moment
that childhood stretched
like fog, the beach empty
and unmarked.

It comes to little now
who I forgive, mourn,
or thank. The dust shifts
and we are barely
suspended in the light.

I know this little thing:
there’s a boy somewhere
in a station where
the trains still run,
wearing scuffed brown shoes,
gray overcoat, and cap;
someone has neatly parted
and combed his hair.
He is waiting
to be taken by the hand
and told where we are going,
to hear we are headed home—
though I can see nothing
beyond the smoke
and midnight haze
at the far end
of the platform,
where I am not
even sure of the stars.

Source: Poetry (May 2012).

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This poem originally appeared in the May 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

May 2012

Biography

Christopher Buckley is the author of fifteen books, most recently the novel, They Eat Puppies, Don't They? (2012).

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death, Parenthood, Sorrow & Grieving, Time & Brevity, Youth, Relationships, Family & Ancestors

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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