Jul/Aug 2017 Poetry

Visiting Day

by Steven Deutsch

Image courtesy of the British Library Photostream

Visiting Day

I catch your smile
through the commotion
of that common room
and I can see
my whole childhood in it.

Once, when our world was
just a stickball game
between the manhole
covers on Bristol Street,
you told me
there would be
time enough
for all things—
a tenderness to the phrase
so unlike you
and the life you've led
that I have carried it
as a counterweight, of sorts,
to all your worldly transgressions.

Today, it's just the two of us—
as gangly and awkward
as the children we once were,
in a room filled
with the sound and smell
of misery, on a scale
I might never have imagined.
I have that, too,
to thank you for.
You shake your head
and laugh out loud
as if in explanation,
as the light fades
through the grim
barred windows,
on this, the last day
of an August
that has been
as hot as hell.


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