The Leaves of Fall
by Robert Tilewick (April 2013)
It didn’t have to start out this way.
In the beginning we both believed in . . .
It’s hard to recall now, all I can recall
Is that it was chilly and misty in Central Park, I think it was the Winter,
Maybe snowing lightly
Nothing else existed but you
And I recall when I looked at you (I remember now, yes, it was snowing lightly)
You were placid, clear blue eyes, calmness of the blue-gray seas
In my pocket an aqua box and velvet strings
Inside a Tiffany diamond engagement ring (later a Tiffany gold wedding ring);
Our wonderment, no awareness of direction, as you and I walked to the Zoo,
Where the goats are.
The goats were so important to me
You were indifferent;
No, you were gazing at the future, at a dream:
A dream that your mother pasted on you.
OK, so we didn’t know, maybe our beginnings did not or could not have known our end;
We flew to California in your first month of Naomi-to-be
Both in awe at Hearst’s castle;
(How could one man bring Paradise onto earth?)
After her birth, in Brooklyn Heights
We were so afraid of taking Naomi outside for the first time -
What if there was a wind? What if she felt chilled; would the outside-of-apartment harm her?
She survived that first walk in the park, we didn’t:
No matter how many trips we took to the Cape,
No matter how many times we tried, so hard,
No matter that two years later, Ben, divine Mr Ben, was born.
The leaves are falling just as in the beginning, endings are so hard
Something torn apart, my home;
But Ben had, and always will have, the last word:
As I was sitting on the taffeta couch in what was then my home
Mr Ben looked at me so quizzically and said,
“Daddy, Man is watching you”
And Naomi had, and always will have, the last word:
In the kitchen with that ugly neon light,
Six years on earth and she implored me to keep a secret, and I said I would:
She whispered Daddy, daddy, you must promise me, promise me that I’ll never ever die.
And I promised.
Robert Tilewick is an attorney and writer who resides in Connecticut.
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