February 27, 2009

By Frank Cruz

(For your mother)

We walked to the top of the golden mountain,
as high and as far as we could go;
the sun was setting on the first day of the rest of our lives.

Yet the city still sat across the bay,
sunlight glimmering off of glass and steel;
the bridge was on fire.

We'd seen it so many times before,
here at the edge of the world,
but suddenly nothing looked right: everything had changed.

The helicopters lingered, hovering like vultures overhead;
so we tried to block it out with words, to make meaning with our tongues and teeth,
there at the edge of the world.

We talked quickly because oblivion hid behind every word,
a half-hearted effort to silence the sounds coming from the sky.
I thought about dying, if not for you.

The embarrassed moon finally appeared on the last day of his life
so we walked down the mountain we had climbed.
For a moment I was sure that we would fall

off the edge, and discover for ourselves what our first-born son already knew.
We hit rock bottom, safe and sound, but all I saw was a world filled with people luckier than us.

Down here, everything looks the same.
So we stumbled through the twilight, on our way back home,
thankful that the helicopters were gone.