Santiago marvels at the fish . . ."If you're not tired, fish," he said aloud, "you must be very strange."
The fish seems almost preternatural in strength and stamina. Like some prehistoric creature. Strange and beautiful. A little scary, perhaps. And the old man respects that.
Today is my son's fourteenth birthday, and he is a marvel to me. Full of humor and love. He's still learning how to navigate the world. He can hold his own in a roomful of experienced adult poets and bring me to my knees with his writing.
Yet, he's still a young teenage boy who loves to play Dungeons & Dragons, listen to weird indie music, and eat Little Caesar's cheese pizza. He gets crushes-at-first-sight. Pushes boundaries like crazy. Feels everything deeply.
And, for some reason, he's been entrusted to my keeping for the past 5,110 days. This strange, preternatural child. Of course, I know that I stand no chance of actually landing this prehistoric fish of a boy. He will eventually slip away into the wide, deep ocean, as all children must. And he will leave me in wonder and thankfulness that I was given the privilege of being a part of his evolution.
Happy birthday to my sweet, trouble-making boy.
Saint Marty's blessing today: fourteen years of adventure with the mystery of my son.
A poem for my son:Arrangement in Pink and Blue No. 1
by: Martin Achatz
He basks before his sister, does this thing
they planned together, she with her 19-year-old
college girl generosity of time, he with his
11-year-old boy hunger for her attention.
On the floor, they face each other,
heads almost touching, his neon
pink hair bathing her face like a sunrise.
They talk about small things. Rain. Cheetos.
Skunks under our front porch. She holds
his hand. He allows her to hold
his hand. She paints each of his fingernails
Pacific Ocean at night, a blue so dark
it could hold sea monsters. My daughter's touch,
meticulous, does not miss with her brush.
My son's cuticles, knuckles remain pristine. White.
He sits there, the way Whistler's mother probably
did as her son arranged dress, bonnet, asked her
to fold her hands just so, gave her a stool
for her feet, told her not to move, hold still.
said "You're perfect" and "I love you, mom,"
as he mixed his oils while she stared
at the wall in front of her, counted rosettes
in the wallpaper, and felt herself
becoming her son's masterpiece.
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