Putting the Pieces Together
after Jack Gilbert
Everyone forgets that Humpty also climbed.
It’s the same when you have children,
when strangers, friends tell you whatever
you’re going through with your kids now
it will always get worse. The boys will
make missiles of their fists and launch them
at your face. They blow up and move away.
The girls will wild the way a rose bush wilds,
with thorns, with blood and bloom. They will
hate you for the way you tried to keep them
safe. But the people doling out these futures
don’t know the way my daughter grabs my hand
as fireworks fingerpaint the bay. They never
ease like my son into sleep’s lead jacket,
fever-tired, anchor-splayed across my chest.
I like to think Humpty climbed a wall
at a crossroads. He wanted to see
how he’d arrived, from where, how far.
I don’t think he fell by accident.
I think he glimpsed a way to go back
and wanted to get there before it vanished.
No one in the kingdom could convince him
there’s no way to remake where you were.
It’s the same lesson any parent learns:
the children are always there. Especially
when they’re no longer there.