Since Unfinished

I’ve been writing this since
the summer my grandfather
taught me how to hold a blade
of grass between my thumbs
and make it whistle, since
I first learned to make green
from blue and yellow, turned
paper into snowflakes, believed
a seashell echoed the sea,
and the sea had no end.
 
I’ve been writing this since
a sparrow flew into my class
and crashed into the window,
laid to rest on a bed of tissue
in a shoebox by the swings, since
the morning I first stood up
on the bathroom sink to watch
my father shave, since our eyes
met in that foggy mirror, since
the splinter my mother pulled
from my thumb, kissed my blood.
 
I’ve been writing this since
the woman I slept with the night
of my father’s wake, since
my grandmother first called me
a faggot and I said nothing, since
I forgave her and my body
pressed hard against Michael
on the dance floor at Twist, since
the years spent with a martini
and men I knew I couldn’t love.
 
I’ve been writing this since
the night I pulled off the road
at Big Sur and my eyes caught
the insanity of the stars, since
the months by the kitchen window
watching the snow come down
like fallout from a despair I had
no word for, since I stopped
searching for a name and found
myself tick-tock in a hammock
asking nothing of the sky.
 
I’ve been writing this since
spring, studying the tiny leaves
on the oaks dithering like moths,
contrast to the eon-old fieldstones
unveiled of snow, but forever
works-in-progress, since tonight
with the battled moon behind
the branches spying on the world—
same as it ever was—perfectly
unfinished, my glasses and pen
at rest again on the night table.
 
I’ve been writing this since
my eyes started seeing less,
my knees aching more, since
I began picking up twigs, feathers,
and pretty rocks for no reason
collecting on the porch where
I sit to read and watch the sunset
like my grandfather did everyday,
remembering him and how
to make a blade of grass whistle.

Richard Blanco, "Since Unfinished" from Looking for The Gulf Motel. Copyright © 2012 by Richard Blanco.  Reprinted by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press.
Source: Looking for The Gulf Motel (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012)
More Poems by Richard Blanco