I Thought You Ought to Know


I always eyed the kitchen door
on Sunday mornings after church,
waiting for your head to appear
behind the plastic window pane or
against the screen in summer.
It was for me, one day each week,
a little bit of Christmas.

I thought you ought to know.

Perhaps you did know, but I failed
to tell you, and I want to tell you
everything, everything now, I feel.

Your son became a man.
His voice is deep. His hair’s still blonde. He’s good,
and yet I wish you’d been here
to help him be good,
to make it an easier thing to be.
He married and made you a grandmother.

I thought you ought to know that, too.

It could be wish filled thinking,
but I swear she has your smile,
minus the teeth made crooked
by a line drive baseball
too hard to handle.

They never mattered much, your teeth,
no more than the wig you wore
to hide your balding head.
None of that
made any difference.
You were still,
as always,
Did you know I thought that?
We all did. It’s just not the kind of thing
a brother often tells a sister,
but I think it’s time I do.

I have kids of my own, by the way. Yeah,
you missed all that. You missed a lot of things
like my college graduation and my wedding
and all the confusion that followed your leaving.
The Sunday breakfasts disbanded. We didn’t know how
to set the table or how to be together anymore.
We sulked for awhile, then we fought for awhile,
but we each found a rung and pulled ourselves up.

So, even though you weren’t here, I thought
you’d want to know that things got better.
Oh, and I’ve recently taken up poetry,
which reminds me
I need to end this
or I’ll never stop writing.

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