My Son Asks Me, “Do You Remember When I Was Two?”

I have forgotten everything:
Your bed I would sleep beneath,
the taste of your mother’s mouth
the nickel of a revolver. The belief

your only purpose was for me
to save when she would breathe
only in staccato and flame.
What good is it to tell you this?

I have forgotten what it’s like
to towel your skin, which is to say
that these hands are strangers to you
now. I have forgotten how to keep

my hands over your head to save you
from thunder bringing its body down.
I have forgotten that I once stuck
my fingers down your throat

when you quit breathing and all
I pulled out was a mistimed cry.
I have no way to explain to you why
I don’t run to keep us from the flames

anymore; that we become and become
again like a quick blaze at the edge
of a field, a small bird bolted
in our mouths, singing, then still.