hello, gray twig

hello, gray twig

do you know how heavy you are
to me?

(so heavy)
Moving last month, I was careful:

I wedged you in the side of the shoe box 
next to the postcards
from my friends
because I knew if you weren’t hidden, 
someone’d think you were trash.
Placed you on a glass shelf that picks up sunlight now
sun
sun
sun—you are 
old now

and showing the age.

Do you know what you mean, gray twig?
Do you remember?
my father 
(I call him pop
he calls me Jimmy)
My father rushing to my packed car
pulling away from the house
empty goodbyes already said
and scrambling—    
hands grasping at air
                                   like clawing in dirt

                                   like digging a grave

—he searched for words.

                                   (He was trying to say I love you, 

                                   I am guessing)

But no words.
Some stutters.
Then he bent down, lowering his aging body to the earth, and plucked from the ground some severed segment of the front yard tree—you, my dear gray twig, he picked up you—and passed you to me, almost gently, through the passenger seat window, saying “you’ll need this.”

Did he see you and decide to name you home?
Did he locate some love inside of you?
And in sharing you was he sharing that love with me, too?
(for the first time maybe)

Or was he making fun of me? 
And of you, too?
(Jimmy off to the city thinks she’s fucking fancy, 
but she dirt.)

I don’t know. My not knowing hurts.
Does it hurt you too, gray twig? 
To burn and grow in the dirt of one place
only to find yourself windblown 
elsewhere 
and questioning if your roots would have let you fly so far from home if they ever really did love you.

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