You put your arms around our son
He leans into you
then pulls back into his own life
gliding across the tiles like a figure skater

          Should I make breakfast?

          Yes    you say in unison

I lift down earthenware bowls for blueberry pancakes

          Are you sure you have all the ingredients?

but I just start ---

          2 cups flour
          2 tablespoons sugar
          1/2 teaspoon salt

By the merest luck
the night we met I was reading Kawabata's The Master of Go
and you carried a book of koans in your knapsack

I still remember the first one you read to me ---

One day Unmon said to his disciples ---

If you don't see a
man for three days do not
think he is the same man
How about you?

No one spoke so he said

One thousand

§     §     §

One evening in December I work completing
my portrait of Noah

I consider my likeness against the radiance I see ---
the burnished splendor of his body
wrists and ankles crossed

Outside there is a maple stripped of every single leaf
doing what it can with the storm

On break I watch its nakedness illuminate
the growing dark ---
what it has in common with Noah

Each week for eight weeks
Noah has assumed the same pose
fixed his gaze on a landscape of snow to make my job easier

but what I love is how passion undoes
his diligence

The vermilion undertone that is a flame
throughout his body
is as wild
as the dance of branches outside the window

--- From Flight Patterns
JoAnne McFarland
©2004 Gold Leaf Books
543 Union St. #2B
Brooklyn NY 11215
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