All night I’ve been leaning against the windowsill, knowing you will leave before the sun comes to drive away this darkness. For hours I’ve studied abandoned spider webs, each thin filament spun by a creature that repulses me. I’ve climbed the curves of each smudged fingerprint, those phantoms of your touch. You have been my redemption; tethered to you I have not failed completely. By 4 a.m. the Marines will arrive to claim you. The gravel drive will sigh beneath the weight of tires, and you will disappear into adulthood. I think of the day you arrived, unceremonious as it was when they dropped you on my doorstep, a toddler still battling his mother’s demons. How she’d pumped them through you while you weren’t aware. You were my broken boy, full of rage and joy, in love with every breath. How the years have healed you. From you I learned belief. In the darkness, crickets call to no one in particular. Cool August air slips through faulty seals. I ask the night so many questions, but the house is heavy with silence.
Bridget Gage-Dixon spends her days cajoling other people’s teenagers to read great books and utilize proper grammar and her nights cajoling her own teens to pick up after themselves. She lives in a small house in the woods where she can often be found at her computer agonizing over word choice. Her work has appeared in several journals including Poet Lore, The New York Quarterly, and Cortland Review.