At some point, it became irrelevant
to teach little boys how to tie a horse’s harness to a tree after a morning ride
as it will become irrelevant, yet possibly charming
to tell analog time, and write in cursive, and develop 35 mm film
(these things yet in my lifetime).
There was, there will be, a last father who taught the last son
To shape a horseshoe, a last mother who taught a last daughter to curtsey.
I watch the life of Tolstoy unreel on the screen while I
drink red wine and listen for the ping of e-mail
Over the hush of the rain and through the soft light
While my seven year old falls asleep on my lap in the leather recliner.
When my son was two he walked backwards off a dock, playing out a rope –
I saw him face up under the water
Eyes wide open while I walked to rescue him,
Sure that I would.
These things I have not taught (nor have I taught about horses and curtseys)
but Unbidden they are learned;
That I am safe, that I will rescue, and I am, I will…
But also I will dream and in dreaming stray –
I will curtsey and will untie the horse
I will take up the black and white 35 mm prints and put them in my leather bag,
I will look at the hands on my watch,
I will write you a note with black ink and leave it for you
On the kitchen table, under a smooth stone from the river;
And then I will ride away
Through the dappled birches
Dropping shadows on the roads
Like things they no longer need.