L’Enfant Prodige

Though he came back many times

it was the past which haunted him

rattling his dreams with a load

of chains

he could not unlock. It was as though

his father were looking at him

out of the corner of his eyes

wondering when he would up

and leave once more, and that

one more time

there would be that scenario

of his return: once

in the corn field

amongst the pigs, between the sharp

angular rooftops

of the buildings of the farm;

then again on the steps

of their palatial home.

His father beams. He crawls

on his knees. He notes

that his mother

if seen at all

is off to the side,

or through a curtained window frame,

is half observed.

But it is his father’s eyes

he recalls, and recoils from,

which fill the screen

and impose an incongruously modern touch

upon the biblical scene.

Again and again

they give to the canvas

a surrealistic tone

thickening the paint

with all these feelings:

of mercy, pity, compassion, even love,

until the redundant superficiality

of it, forces him to leave once more.

O, knowing that some day

that stalwart bearded figure of his father

will be him

is too much to bear.   *