Reunion, by Charles Carreon
The fierce baying of the wolf
In the hours between midnight and dawn,
You in the old pea-coat of slavery,
Emblazoned with the hash-marks on the sleeve,
The names of your comrades inscribed
In small letters on the inside lapel.
The loving embrace of the son who is gone,
The broken hammer returned to the forge and remade,
Between the heart and mind, nails.
(Note: At around 3:33 a.m. on October 6, 2008, I woke from a vivid dream. I was at my mother's house, and she gave me the old pea-coat I'd worn in military school. On the arm some numbers were marked crudely, and on the inside lapel, the names of my old friends were written in small handwriting. I was delighted to have the coat, and put it on. My son Joshua was in the bathroom, taking a shower. My mother told me to eat half the food that was on my plate – a burrito and a cheese enchilada, and to leave the rest for Josh, but I said no, that I would go out to eat and he could have all of it. I put the enchiladas that she had cut for me back on the plate. I saw that Josh had already eaten a bite of the burrito, and was glad it was still warm. Joshua was in the bedroom, a little boy with his long hair cut in bangs, and told me excitedly about some poetry he had written with his friend Sam. I said it was really good. We hugged, passionately, with the sincere, aware delight of knowing that we were really hugging, that he was right there in my arms. Then he began to recite some very powerful poetry, very beautifully, with a confident delivery. As he reached the last line, his lips were smiling in triumph, like he knew he had impressed me. When I awoke, the last line echoed in my head, “Between the heart and mind, nails.” I couldn't forget it, but only heard the rhythm of the preceding lines, so I played the rhythm in my head, and the words fell into place instantly. I wrote them down in the dark, thinking I'd need to adjust them to get them to scan properly. But when I read them, the rhythm was perfect. Some tears ran down my face, and waves of feeling rippled through my whole body. I was happy. Joshua passed away in a car accident sometime between three and four a.m., February 17, 2006. In my mind, this poem that is very much in his style, is his gift to me. I share it with you as he no doubt intended.)