My Sons Who Have No Opera to Console Them

Pavarotti lies in a hospital bed,
and my sons who have no opera

to console them, pulled from the driveway.

I held them in the garage without words—
poet who could say nothing—

and my hands, the empty tools of fatherhood—

chased their bikes from the greasy floor,
fished laundry from the pile,

and dressed the wild room for a guest.

There was nothing to recall
but pictures and stones we climbed

in the West of dusted wind. I gave my rocks to them,

to scale some mountain other than this one,
where their twenty-odd years were spent.

We emptied our belongings to this day

the opera began to cry, Luciano
but I wanted the sound of us in a garage of boys

and sawdust, the wood chiseled to ants

and leaves and a last, prescient glow
in the mirror, when the youngest ate

the image of his father, howling good-bye.

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