What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?
-Robert Hayden, “Those Winter Sundays”
You gave up the Nintendo you bought
to the toddler on the trailer floor,
sitting firm behind me, letting me believe
I won at Zelda. The Castlevania music
almost my first memory, with your hand
at my back.
I picture you, sometimes,
as that young man behind your camera,
or building houses on the Sims,
or me creeping from my bedroom
to watch you watch the WWF.
To your chagrin, I often fell asleep
on our Saturday joyrides to nowhere.
My love of Kentucky is because of you
showing me all its places, how you knew
its contours and people–never met
I could go on,
but this is to say that I appreciate
the innumerable instances, the fleeting
And though we may disagree,
sometimes about many things,
I am grateful that you always bridge
our gaps, that I still feel your hand
behind me in how I treat other folks
like you did–as if they were an old friend
I hadn’t seen in much too long.