Schoolyard Dreams

You come to me with schoolboy charm, long and lean
it is so strange to see you young, unworn, happy
I tease that I always knew you were a string bean
at heart, and all the muscles you put on as you
aged were through sheer determination and too many
protein shakes, and you blush in a suit of blue,
so quiet, so serious, so shy, so studious, but
you smile and say you wanted to show me your
innocence, your childhood, not a battle-weary
general but just a young man, mid-twenties, hair
not yet long in sorrow, eyes not yet weighted with
the loss of a third of heaven – the scene you choose
for this midnight visitation is a boarding school in
England, and I am in a black and white schoolgirl
uniform with a red bow, knee socks and Mary Janes,
and we kiss with the passion of young lovers and
hold the quietest of hands as we walk through linden
trees and count the children feeding squirrels nuts
you skip a stone over the buttercream river – it
crawls across like a caterpillar then sinks, and I
keep stealing glances at your unsure face, stubble
sparse, hair burnished orange and wild, you haven’t
learned to tame your strength yet, you still haven’t
found confidence, always second-guessing, but in your
older age you hide it, I know now in your heart there
will always be the most hesitant of boys, enchanted by
women, not sure how to approach an all-consuming crush,
Adam’s apple bobs, we sit down in grass, look up at a
glass sky, watch clouds slug across on a breeze, and I
can hear your heartbeat – ba-dum, ba-dum, moving the
entire landscape, thrumming through the riverside,
swaying every blade of grass – Michael, you are too
tender, and I will weep for how life broke you, but
for now, in reverie, we do not have pain, we do not
have wings, and though bound to soil, we are free.

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