Victor is a spy:
Not a very good one, he
Is constantly seen
Perching on windowsills
Holding still on planters
Peering through windowpanes,
Big slats of smudged glass.
His mother is dead:
Not a very good death, she
Was diagnosed with some rare form of
Hodkins-Non Hodkins Sickle Cell Breast Pelvic Oral Skin radiation,
Or maybe she just fell off something very high, or
Maybe she was never really here at all; like an angel, or
A magic woman, come with potions and tonics resplendent.
His father shouts:
Angrily, from the balcony, he
Calls down onto the street below
Worried about the dinner on the table:
Did he cook it just right? Is it too cold?
Will he stimulate Victor in
Pragmatic, analytic, thought-provoking, developmentally rich
Dinner conversation? What with
Marie gone, and so suddenly.
Victor hears the echoes:
He crouches on a stoop, a crumpling one with
A rusty handrail and graffiti-stained granite steps
Leading up to a dilapidated building that houses
A thousand boring people who Victor is intently interested in.
He hides from his father’s call, beckoning
Him into a house he no longer desires, a life
That died along with his mother.
His father shouts into the night:
He sees his son under a thin strand of
Lamplight pooling on the steps
Of a long-forgotten stoop.
And oh, his son cowers, frightened of
A past that wasn’t so forgiving—
A childhood ripped and jarred.
Victor’s father walks inside the apartment
From the balcony and sits at the table to dine,
He says grace, asking God to bless Marie,
His mother cries from he clouds:
She says it softly, sweetly, she
Coos into his floppy ear.
Victor sits on the stoop and says Grace,
While Marie sits up in the stars