My friend, Tom, shared this poem with a small group of us last week. The poet invokes the fullness of a child’s resolve to live up to and into the expectations of his life and the loss of innocence necessary to do so. Tom’s reading of it, both tender and measured, was heartbreaking in the way that threshold moments must always be.
A Farewell, Age 10
While its owner looks away I touch the rabbit.
Its long soft ears fold back under my hand.
Miles of yellow wheat bend; their leaves
rustle away and wait for the sun and wind.
This day belongs to my uncle. This is his farm.
We have stopped on our journey; when my father says to
we will go on, leaving this paradise, leaving
the family place. We have my father’s job.
Like him, I will be strong all my life.
We are men. If we squint our eyes in the sun
we will see far. I’m ready. It’s good, this resolve.
But I will never pet the rabbit again.