I stood on the sidewalk
by my parents
when my brother set off
on his first bike ride solo around the block
and never came back.
For fifty years some of me has waited there
midway through his lap,
but his journey continues as he learns firsthand
lessons in how the universe expands.
We had no way to know
where he would go:
no pins in a map to show
a freezer in someone’s garage,
or hit and run by a car,
or a hyperbaric collection sack
in the belly of a ship to Mars.
What I know now
(but then did not)
is many moments come and go,
but really bad ones stay.
They have made me live with the remains
of a child heart in an aging man’s frame,
trying still to negotiate with something
a slightly better version of forever,
scaled down so not to ask too much,
hoping less enough could be approved.
Like meeting in a halfway place,
he in a soft knit shirt I outgrew,
and I, promising not to talk,
just remain side by side with him
in front of our place,
kickstands down and sidewalk safe.
Michael Maul resides in Bradenton, Florida near Sarasota Bay. His poems have appeared in numerous literary publications and anthologies worldwide.
Michael is a past winner of the Mercantile Library Prize for Fiction. He has participated in a live readings series sponsored by Bookstore 1, which presents work by the best of Sarasota-based poets during National Poetry Week, and as a Fray Day presenter, at the Southgate House in Newport, Kentucky.
Michael is a graduate of the Ohio University creative writing program, where he earned both Bachelors and Masters degrees. He later taught creative writing as a full-time faculty member at The Columbus College of Art and Design, in Columbus Ohio.
Anniversary Poem first appeared in Clementine Poetry Journal.