TO M. AFTER SEEING AGAIN HIS FIRST PICTURE WITH SANTA
What was it made you stick a fingertip in your mouth, searchingly, as if you could sweep stubborn words off your tongue, write them in air and answer the man’s pepperminted question? Remembering how I’d wake you to watch December’s first snow, our foreheads burning against living room window’s cold as midnight came and you begged to see us through the morning? What did you, star-bright and tongue-tied, want most then? All I meant was to keep you close. All I wanted was to listen while you whispered what could make you happiest. We walked home from Sears, your wool-mittened hand scratching mine, bare and wind-chapped, pulling me under streetlamps’ yellowed ovals, our shadows drawing out long and faint, until one flickered and went blank. An angel, you said as you turned to run and I went cold, high above us the shy new moon ghosted. Nikon 35
Michael Levan’s poems have appeared recently in Indiana Review, Mid-American Review, American Literary Review, Lunch Ticket, Dialogist, and Heron Tree, as well as Cutbank’s 40th anniversary anthology and Southern Poetry Anthology VI: Tennessee. He teaches writing at the University of Saint Francis and lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with his wife, Molly, and son, Atticus.