Michael Basile


Empty pockets
I find empty pockets
Nothing hidden, nothing collected
Except secret patterns of sound (to whom does he sing?)
Or footpaths, precise and mathematical (whence does he travel?)

Only he knows
The intricacies of care that earn these private seclusions
        That bar us from unseemly intrusions
To the world he keeps for himself.

Empty pockets
I find no marbles, no trace of candy furtively consumed
Bottle caps,
Decaying buttercups once rich with spores and promise,
No cards of heroic men with lumber in hand
Like gods of old
Inspiring young hearts with possibility.

Where is possibility
In those recesses that yield no clues to his past
        no glimpse of what is to come?

I will choose this:
My boy, unfettered with the weight of personal possession,
Of grubby detail, of this and that,
Soars, his spirit light and
Seeking in pockets of air bluebirds
Beyond the rainbow way up high.

I believe this, too

At times.

* * *


His voice pierced the long accepted silence
"Scissors." And why so?
Was that wonderful dental vibration, that lingual frizzante
Too scintillating to forever forego?
Ours is not to reason why....
For thus a—word!
Worth the wait, we quickly concluded (as if waiting were a choice.)
Such Jovian pronouncements, clouded in motivation but nonetheless immersed in significance,
Are--must be--savored, heeded.

This one we hoarded.

Ant-like we have provided for the cold and bare times when words are scarce.
(Please postmark your surplus to our Arctic address.)

it doesn't matter much when,
There was, "Not fish."
Contextual, moreover to "What for Dinner?"
A gem.
An illocutionary gem, later found flawed,
(Must all joy be tainted by fact?)
Flawed by Ouija association--communication facilitation--
(The miracle betwixt dolphin swimming and secretin salvation.)

Yet, still cherished is "Not Fish"—twice one, twice "Scissors."
Still cherished is that time of life in him
When we beheard the words upon his lips
That hung there, babbled more sweetly than the
Song of birds before the death of promise.

One plus two makes three.
We've come to appreciate simple arithmetic.

Michael Basile is an Associate Professor of English at New Jersey City University and the father of Daniel, a twenty-one year old with autism. Michael regularly publishes in Shakespeare Bulletin and is a member of the board of directors of the Morris County chapter of ARC: the Association for Retarded Citizens.