August Bar Mitzvah

by Anna Belle

by Anna Belle Kaufman

He’d be thirty years this month,
the boy I lost so long ago.
His visage frozen at five,
smiling at me over his shoulder,
gripping the handlebars of his red trike
from behind a rectangle of glass.

Years have muted the pain
the way a brush dipped in water
melts the gash of colorstroke
and sweeps it across the paper
ever paler as it fans farther out.

For the  children who do not stop growing
that first climb to the summit of the jungle gym,
the elation of the slide down,
becomes a graduation,
an engagement,
a fellowship,
a marriage,
a baby.

And each rite of passage, heard or witnessed,
shocks the calm waters of my old grief
like the paint-engorged brush
drops color into the clear rinse
which blooms with sudden
swirls of crimson or,
today, the cerulean blue
of the striped tallit he’d never wear.

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