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Letter To Her Son

Jan Horner
From:   Recent Mistakes. Turnstone, 1988.


This morning I miss you
because there are little boys here
all the way from Nigeria
two of them, only one of you
their distance a reminder of our separation
I have no bail bonds and no excuses

We went down to the river
the boys caught no fish with their worms
despite their dancing, their lilting voices
they wanted me to catch their hard pitches
they too want their father's praise and muscles
but will take my admiration between their white teeth
Because they are video sportsmen
they think Winnipeg is a city of blue bombs
as if they knew your star wars
as if boys the world over did not love soldiers
Wanting to win all arguments
they ask why Canadians are so crazy
Will you be quick enough for Nick and Oko
all the third world contenders?

The cat here had kittens
while we were talking on the bed
before angelus rang through the window
The cat here had kittens and it's your birthday
your cake will have nine candles
I am always falling over you, your shoes
your nine neat lives with their cats and kittens

I'm thinking about making a cake
the kind with pennies and wishes
a cake big enough to feed birds
with enough crumbs to take you through the mazes
of all those who plot against you
never any lighter or sweeter
so swallow your cares and eat my cake

And as you blow out the candles
here are my wishes:
that you always have room for another
that you always write
and keep off the booze and candies
and forget the ready formulas for pleasing all
that you dream us out of your warheads
that you can tell a good woman from a hopeless one
and keep a light burning always
that you will be the one man to leave me
unscathed



Jan Horner's works copyright © to the author.


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