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    Edward Pickersgill Edward Pickersgill

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ID: 5010
Date Added: 2002-09-19
Date Modified: 2002-11-19
(b) Son Gone ? average | Votes: 0
from Binding Twine by Penn Kemp (1984) 
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"A boy needs a father," they said.
I believed. When he asked, I thought it
only fair. It seemed right.

Even though I wanted him to know
a woman's peace in himself. I
let him go. Young. I gave him away. Now
I pray he can hold his own. There.


By this word
I let you go
to your father's world.

By this word
while you are there.

By this word
I won't ask you back
before you are ready.

By this word
I sever the silver blue cord
taut between us.

By this word
be eight and out

By this world
hi and goodbye
and see you around.


I knew and I gave my son anyway
I knew where my son was going.
I knew whom I was giving him to.
The rage. The violent frustration.
The power turned in upon itself.
The tenderness hid in bristle.

And still somehow I thought he
would survive intact and come back
at the end of his holiday.

We agreed on a month. But one
stretched on into many.

At least now his father
sees him. Isn't that
what I asked for?


Once it was war
that took the sons away.
Or disease, famine,
unsanitary conditions.
Boarding schools. Convention.
Anything other than our

Now it is liberation.
Or the courts.


I tried to think like a man.
I followed reason, reasonably.

He knew where he was going, or
thought he did. I let him go
against my instinct and my will.

He caught my confusion. His father,
backed by society, had none...
Maybe he needed to learn other values.
I assumed a mother was not enough for
a boy to grow into a man, as surveys
of single women raising sons showed.

I thought wrong.


"I've got money now," he
grins, rattling loose
change, flipping dimes
in careful succession.

Computers and video,
his intent. High tech
prosperity. He designs
secret spacecraft to save
the planet from pollution.

Child of the eighties, he
plans to ask for military
aid to get the rocket up.

He boasts. He brags.
But he doesn't deny
by veiling his eye
what together we knew.


What seems to be our undoing
is the binding of the son
in sacrifice.

No last minute
panic. No hesitation. He
does not balk.

After that terrible
surrender, the hiatus
in time might last a
month, a year, an aeon.

Who knows its reverberation?
Our degree of trust determines.

As soon, as surely as we agree
to offering, he is raised
from the altar we have built.

The bond is the boy's
release. The cutting
of the bond is ours.

The twine unties us both,
apart and laughing over
the last barriers.


Our sons who choose
the ways of the father
embrace the world as
they leap off our laps.

Sallies out of home base.
They go where they know
the learning is now.
Our imprint received.

We raise them so far,
then set them loose
for a breathing space.


Trust the boy's need to
escape powerful wings,
ducking out from under
to try out his own.

Let him fly into the net
coincidence sets shaking
of his own sweet schemes.

Deliver him from archetype
I spread as mother.
Shadows beat against the pane.

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