Sequence

by Len Roberts

My son out in the dark
picking the last
tomatoes and peppers
he’s weeded and mulched
and watered all summer
the night of the first frost
here,
the TV announcer almost
shouted,

so he went out with
the flashlight
I watched him tuck
in his jacket pocket
to pick his crop,

and I wanted to ask if
I could help,
I wanted to say I could
hold the light,
I wanted to say I should
never have let him ride
his bike
what, seventeen years ago?
on Wassergass Road
where the heavy Buick
sent him flying over
a hundred feet,

his atrophied leg, his right
eye lower than the left,
his inability to sequence
more than three steps
at a time,

steps to write an essay,
steps for three time blocks
before and after lunch,
steps to solve for X,

but I kept quiet, sat flicking
the remote control
while the door clicked
and I saw his light zigzag
up the black
till he got to what we both
knew
was the gate, the thought
then
of lifting the latch while
holding the flashlight
under his chin or in his mouth,

and third, the easy swinging out.

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