If I Could Tell My Son Anything

Photo by Mel Hattie via Unsplash

Have you wandered?
I have.
I have wandered to the uneven edges,
to the place the straight rows break apart,
the Negev
and the Jordan. I have listened
for heartbeats that never came
for laughter that bubbled up in the spring.
Have you wandered?

I think if I could tell my son any-
thing, I would sit him down, place
my hands on his thin, widening shoulders
and tell him it is no sin
to be innocent. It is no wonderful thing
to rush into the knowledge of good
and evil. It is quite fine, in fact, to decide
to go on playing with toy cars
long after your friends, or to sit
with your baby brother and watch
the trolley move in its halting fashion
all the way to the Land of Make Believe.

This is what I would tell my son if I could.
But these are not the kinds of things you can
simply say. Words can never dry the river
while it’s running.

The only thing that can do that is the first
trusting step over the bank’s edge. Did those priests
carrying the Ark close their eyes? Did they hold their breath? Or
did they stare into the white water, determined
to see the hand of God as it worked?

I have wandered all the way to the uneven
edge, eyes closed, waiting for the courage to take
that first step into the white water.