Soccer Ball

I do not know
how to explain
to the nine-year-old boy
on his birthday
that the world is not
always a soft place
to land.

And so I hold him,
like the day he was born,
until the tears
turn into something else,
perhaps a kind of soft relaxation
into love.

We are all growing up –
even the family of ducks that rides
the river eddy, yellow down
of early spring turned to
the feathered brown of adulthood,
even the tall cattails in the still-water marsh,
even you,
even me.

My words now are like
that broken nest laying in the grass,
both empty and life giving,
and he and I,
delicate
with the possibility
of what may fall.

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