First, as a grandson:
Measuring heights, scribbled in pencil,
Filling into shoes still too big for me to wear,
Games and names and claims to action figures,
A green plastic army with which I could conquer the world.
Next, as a boy:
Unshapely teeth, no signs yet of any blemish;
One, two, too many trophies, too many photographs.
Intense resonance of yells about incompetence,
Good-hearted, loving staples of my foundations.
Then, as a man:
Filling into my father’s frame, my mother’s beauty,
Understanding care, responsibility, and past,
Height, in spite of childish delight,
Tall enough to see the future, but with regard for posterity.
And, as a student:
Irritation over minute molestations,
Contemplation and worldly adoration,
Working hard to fulfill a dream,
Bits and pieces from what you have taught me.
And, as a man,
Learning about grief, and loss, and humility,
Seeing broken, then renovation; demolished and rebuilt;
The loss of a father and the loss of a father;
The love for a mother and the love for a mother.
As a boy:
Dealing with change, and rage, and eager faces
From unknown places, offering lollipops – too many to recall;
Sasha and Lilya; among others whom I have forgotten.
A new sink and shower – a different life.
As a grandson:
Learning about a tumor and accepting it with the
Humor given by a loving, diminished family.
Staying under the covers because it’s my fault, my fault,
I didn’t want him to die, not I, I’m sorry…
As a son:
Years gone by and years to come,
And by my side, the wisest person that I know,
A sage, a mentor, a still-to-this-day beauty queen,
My rock, my fortress, my support, my mother.
Age 16, Grade 11
Hunter College High School