My son has not spokento me
in the month he has hidden
at his mother’s
since shoving me
four times, hard, with flat hands
that now palm basketballs
My wife called police,when I chose
not to lay my hands on him
in anger and he did not stop.
I had stashed his car,at a neighbor’s
after lip about fixing his head-light,
finding his lost driver’s license
not driving stoned---a deal we’d made
when he couldn’t wait to have a car.
“Where’s my fucking car”,
he said,starting there,
spit flying from his lips
or conceding a thing.
After the attack he fled,
Cops brought him back
counseled us, had seen much worse.
He was free to stay, I said
But had to chain the dog.
We ate together, or
at the same table, passing food,
each “thank you father” a slap.
The next day, after school
I broached the subject,
put a pin in the assault,
but wanted to be heard.“
It’s not the end of the world
that you crossed this line,but
It can’t happen again,
I’ll accept your calling card
as a man and judge you as a man.”
He’s 18 now. Cheekbones like flint,
fat-free athlete’s body
pick-up no quarter basketball games
with older black guys.
Handsome, sullen, An animal
trapped behind his eyes.
“If you’re a man” “you have to keep your word.”
said not much but what
you might expect---wouldn’t be threatened
in my house...
Enraged again, called me a hypocrite.
recited fictional beatings
at my hands--- “Which my mom will attest to”
he said,and the weasel appeared visible for an instant
eying the crippled bird
rising from the tangled brush
between us. He left.
Returned a month later
seeking money, driving a new car.
At my shocked expression
smirked,“You’re jealous because my mom
bought a nicer car.”
patience as a hunter I said nothing.
The bird rose, spinning on its bad wing.
The weasel ducked out of sight
My son drove off, brand-new, web-ready
color cell-phone at his ear
ready to communicate.
Causes Peter Coyote Supports
The Global Security Institute, Native Sovereignty Issues, Wild Earth( Natural Corridors Program),