How to Let Go of My Youngest Son
I hold his face in my hands
my palms fully on his cheeks
where his bones are most like mine.
And I see, really see beyond
those extraordinary khaki eyes.
They are still before impatience,
filled with the innocence of twenty-one.
I place a kiss, a blessing, on his cheek,
as if he were Homer’s Odysseus.
This, even though his journey
will take him barely six hours from here,
even though he has not yet learned to sail,
even though he can take a flight home.
I am humbled and proud,
not because he is a master potter
of sorts, but because he is a masterpiece
of humankind, because he has been my teacher
all along, even though this I not always knew,
even though I cannot remember a first lesson.
What I do recall, what I know,
is the scent of his hair, his toddler hands
as together we perused a fresh book.
And that he questioned what he saw
with naïve fingers and the words I read
with uncomplicated reaction.
Now, he questions doctrine, systems, principles.
I give him one more of many hugs,
and a half-smile before he goes,
knowing his return will be different
yet so much the same, knowing the lessons
will continue, knowing he knows
the harbor will remain open.