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Category: Family

POEM: Abstention

Abstention

If, right now, they were to die,
I would not attend the funeral.
Already I hear the muttering of cousins,
the sotto voce accusations.
The time has come to stop keeping up appearances.
Let others mourn; I did my crying as a child.
I felt the sting & dreamed of death
both given & received.
I hid a mountain of dirt beneath my clothes.
Those who knew them less well
can toss handfuls into their darkness.

/ / /

Jason Crane
9 February 2020
State College PA

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POEM: At night I think about my kids

At night I think about my kids

Not just at night, of course, but it’s then
that two thousand miles feels like an un-
crossable gulf; a promise bent to breaking.
Two weeks after I move I’ll miss a birthday.
Two months later it’s graduation.
I can hear it in their mother’s voice:
“To Tucson?” she asks, even though she knows.
I’ll get back when I can. Bring them out
when they want to come & I can afford it.
This’ll feel better in the morning,
but it’ll never feel good.

/ / /

Jason Crane
27 January 2020
State College PA

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POEM: ex post facto

ex post facto

it took him years
to understand what happened

how she was always ready
to withdraw her love from her ungrateful child

is this the thanks I get?
is this how you repay me?

he hadn’t realized
everything was a transaction

another item in a ledger
carefully tallied, always in the red

how owed before his first breath
she was there, waiting to collect

/ / /

Jason Crane
7 November 2019
State College PA

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POEM: pocket knife

pocket knife

when I was young
        I planned out how to kill him
        if he ever hit me again

when I got older
        I tried to forgive
        if not forget

when I became a father
        the wind blew his ember into
        my dry kindling; it caught

when I went home
        the past chased me, yelling,
        into their newly remodeled kitchen

when I drove away
        I cut all ties using
        the knife I always keep in my pocket

///

Jason Crane
21 October 2019
State College PA

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POEM: BOOM

BOOM

I’m in one of those relationships where
talking happens, but doesn’t need to
right now Owen is asleep on the couch upstairs
I’m in the basement futzing
Owen’s sleeping energy fills the whole house
it makes me feel safe, even though I can’t
see them or hear them or touch them
you know that thing where you can tell
there’s a TV on in the house even if
the sound is off? it’s like that
Owen is broadcasting a silent message
I’M HERE EVERYTHING IS OK
of course “everything” isn’t OK
but the thing about being in this pairing
is that even the things that aren’t OK
seem likely to be OK in the end
it’s been a long time since I’ve felt this way
how old was I when we got together?
42, I think. in which case I went 42 years
without ever feeling like everything
would work out … then boom, Owen.

/ / /

Jason Crane
15 September 2019
State College PA
but not for much longer

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