Battlefield National Park
When my teenage son shouts at me that I am “worthless”
as his father retreats hastily behind closed lids, feigning sleep,
(perhaps because he agrees),
climb into my car, drive away fast
where I calm, drowse, dream,
sometimes reading, sometimes writing,
mostly just lying quietly on the old quilt I keep in the trunk,
my mind carefully still.
Exhausted by inertia,
I stare up
between the tangled branches of trees that are over a hundred years old
into the blue sky above.
They are unimpressed, these rustling giants, by my pain;
they have watched the grey and the blue die,
shrieking boys and men calling for their mothers
as their blood made ponds in the scrubby hayfield.
(Did those boys, in anger, ever shout “worthless”? Would my son, in his last moments, shriek for me?)
To the indifferent elms above, I am just another ghost
restlessly hoping that something better is waiting for me
when I finally rise up and head home.