He knows nothing
His is the face of a dozen relatives they name
and a 100 relatives aged into ancestors
his parents claim as heritage
There will be no knife;
his nose is his nose
Two years, 4 inches, with a razor’s acquaintance
and two years unloading trucks into storerooms
(and not on a soccer pitch, or behind a clarinet)
I’m 18, I can pay
or I will find someone else who will
Consider the could be’s
at this 18 isn’t/is line,
a carton of cigarettes, a sleeve of tattoos,
a lifetime, of uncertain length, pledged to the military.
What’s a knife?
What’s a trim?
down the front, to the sides
the knife doing what a knife does
this one cuts time, him from he
it’s not often
a doctor gets the and-then to the story
it comes from the parents – “the end of unseen”
head down, since when, ten? with every step, word,
thought–down chin, eyes, nose–down
he laughs, he laughs, you can’t believe how he….
amazed, they celebrate
the sight of their son
perhaps this is where we should end
a happy laughing ending…
oh no, because we know
there’s always a more interesting and-then
who will she be
who asks for his history–not on any screen,
not on a wall. where is pre-18, unseen?
what will she do when she finally sees him
as was him
and pictures his heritage on her daughters’ ‘faces