When You Left on Pearl Harbor Day

You never knew about the anger

the boy only six months old squirming

out of my arms like impudent toothpaste

that won’t go back into the tube.

By Pearl Harbor Day in December

in an early fall of snow I had it

figured out: the two of us

would need you, especially the boy

and here you took an early pass

In your wake I wanted hammers and saws

the smell of saved motor oil, car parts everywhere

the high whine of a spinning reel above

the dam, the slap of fish on the dock at dusk

More than three decades gone

and you are achingly familiar

with these conversations mostly shouted

in silence from my head to your spirit

but today, I wanted to write it down

a kind of thank you note for sticking around

as I rub the tiny sea turtle you carved

from that walnut in the woods

Wanted to let you know he’s doing well

and how when I text him late at night

to tell him I’m thinking about him

and hope he’s doing well

he always texts back Thanks, Ma.