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Long Beach, CA

To Those Who Make it Through

Poetry Blog

To Those Who Make it Through

Brandon Cook

There were some who got through
I don’t know how but they did, 
Like bombers on air raids slipping through impossible skies
They defied the odds 

This man I have in mind (because I met him, once, in a photograph, 
and have heard his stories)
Lived with a smile which was never plastered on like a lie
Like the miles of billboards down the old highway to his house

He didn’t walk in the door and say, “Gee, Sal, this dinner smells fine”
But he did shine, with an inner sheen of light
He was happy, kind

He rode with Sally, his girl, on back roads
Smiling as he laid his hand on her thighs
And later, as he held her and had her and she had him
There was selflessness that rose up like a rainstorm in the midst of their great love

He would not roam, never strayed—though he had his offers
He never hit his child
Anger yes, but never rage,
Always found some way to release it like a frog that had crawled into his house
Back into the night

And some many years later, wrinkled and wounded but beautifully unscathed,
Burnished and burgeoning all the more for his age
He handed off the gift
Like a little bird cage 

And not an eagle inside it, nor a bird of prey
But a canary, small and frail and innocent
And with a song like the morning lark

He sings an aria through the years
An opera
Its music, still
Filling all our grateful lives