I was a child on Easter Sunday,
in the back of the family car in my white Sunday shoes, grey vested, and grey pants
the door opened and your father stood there with a smile on his face
he was so tall, and he blocked out the sun
I thought I was seeing God for the first time…
then I’m a little older and the world is frozen and blue
black branches from sleeping trees reached upward and scraped holes in the clouds and caused the snow to fall quietly
on Belle Isle and we were sliding across the frozen pond
you and your brother and I and mine
we traded ice skates for the soles of our shoes….

Time passes in my mind
images on an old camera reel
and it’s pouring down rain
and we’re shirtless
your brother, you, and me
running and splashing and throwing ourselves on the lawn
pretending we’d been struck by lightning
and we laughed until our sides ached
We were the three kings, three magi, from the Bible
and instead of frankincense, myrrh, and gold
we had hymnals, and pews, and blue carpeted runways
where we’d flee between the adults
around the white painted former bar
and across the street from the party store where the Arab man sold us Faygo and hid his girly mags
when your father asked him to.

I remember…
cracking my head on a telephone box
your appendix surgery
long treks to churches where the people were so much more rich than us
but they didn’t know who was in their midst
three magi, three kings, ready to take flight
anywhere we wanted to go…

…and then, it was one last night together
one last dinner
I think that is when I first became acquainted with the concept of loss
there was laughter, adults talking, there was food around my father’s table
and I silently prayed that time would crawl to a stop
but God didn’t hear me or he denied my request
even for magi such as me
and before the night ended I waved goodbye to you all as you piled into your van to go far away…

I remember the time before time knew who we even were
and the years and the miles we’ve trod across
has stooped our shoulders, and added lines to our eyes
just hearing your voice tonight brought all those memories back hurtling back
from the dusty reel I’d had packed away
in some unkempt corner of my mind
my dear Christopher, Matthew,
there really isn’t much of a point to this other than to say…

I know the way life is
the complicated lives of three kings, so different from who we were
time has had its way with us
and the grape juice has turned to wine

My poem has a purpose, though
there’s a method to my prose as the Witching Hour draws close
and the spirits press themselves against the veil
begging for me to go to sleep
so they can whisper their stories to me
and that is, with the simplicity of the little boy that remains somewhere deep inside this tired man’s soul,
to say, “God, I’ve missed you.”

I’ll see you two in that space where we’ve never aged
after all, the pond is still frozen
in that space where
the rain still falls
and the white-tailed deer on Belle Isle
watch curiously
and the blue carpet runway is lit for three wild boys,
three kings, three magi,
to take flight

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