I stand by the bed. The fingers of your hand
are loose and warm, and though your eyes are closed
your head is toward me. Are you sleeping, in
the country you have got to? On pathways
of the blood you have withdrawn, walking younger
with each step. The scene is in neutral tones,
subdued as it is in dreams, or old albums
where half familiar faces reappear;
houses, lawns, on a street with empty curbs.
To follow you, I turn that page toward child-
hood where your brow is smooth, and the mustache
is darker on your lip. It disappears:
bow-tie, shirt sleeves, and trouser cuffs rolled up
you pose against the steps, that afternoon
at her house. In a cap, you go shinnying
poles or hurdle a fence rail, feet sideways,
so easy, young; young father so admired
by someone looking on behind the lens.
If you smiled, in that region beyond sleep,
it would still be for that old camera.
Copyright by Stanley Koehler
In Memoriam: G. Stanley Koehler, 1915-2010