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Tony Gentry

One Gift of Our Sequestering: a poem

Updated: May 17

They came home fledglings flushed back to the nest and, of course, we welcomed them.

Their rooms still theirs nothing changed. We’d washed the sheets that’s all.

A throwback that had us thinking about times we’ve shared that won’t come back.

Chris said, “You were at work, and it was just Nick and me. I’d get tired and lie down on the sofa. I’d lift him up and down, whee! until my arms got tired then he’d rest his head on my chest and we’d nap.

I said, “What I wouldn’t give for one more game of Grabber-Man.”

So when the colleges turned them out it felt like, alright, not quite the same but take it as a gift. And strangely, it has been. A rewind/replay all of us together at dinner every evening.

That had me thinking of other last things. 

Like:  I can point out the Cary Street corner where it happened.  I took Stephen’s hand to cross the street and he sort of swatted it away. Told myself, I guess that’s it for that.

But I didn’t mark the last time we chased hot air balloons or that Nick woke up early just to hang with Dad or the boys took off their capes, put down their swords and plastic shields and never picked them up again.

(Hand-me-downs for the neighbor children, still giddy and chubby and fresh.

I want to school their Dad on that, but he, up to his elbows in his four little kids, he’d look at me askance.)

(Well, that’s probably half the dream of grandparenting creaky old knees and old man bad breath tumbled on the floor to wrestle with the new kid one more round of Grabber-Man indeed almost not quite but hey.)

So yesterday when I outrigged a kayak and its paddle, a surfboard and a bike to his little car and Nick headed off for the Summer of Covid-19 lifeguarding in the Outer Banks this wash of feelings, memories, trepidations, breaking with a shush on the sands of our parenthood.

Buddy sleeps in our room every night but last night he didn’t come up. He lay by the front door maybe wondering when Nick would come back in.  He gets it. Though like us he only dimly understands.

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