Dover is 3 his hair like canary feathers.
he puts his blue eye to the hole
in the board fence between us.
we stick out our tongues and touch.
Dover is 5 in a white suit.
mine eyes dazzle I help him pee
at my birthday party
forsaking all others.
Dover is 7 we sit in the tree of heaven
& hold each other like monkeys.
gently he picks my scab.
Dover is 9 teaching me to drink vanilla.
Dover is 12 with a cellar clubroom.
we play slapjack:
my hand under his hand lies
Dover is 15 stealing his dad’s Melachrinos
borrowing cars for nightrides
& anatomy lessons.
Dover is 20 flunking out of Duke, drafted.
we wrestle in dry leaves.
my fiancé races his engine.
Dover is 24 back from Korea & married.
his canary crest his fallen.
we revisit the old clubroom.
my husband is not amused.
Dover is 26 a father but the boy is dark.
Dover is 30 divorced & moved away
his blue eyes veined with red
his fingers trembling amber.
Dover is 35 & never a day older
thin-haired in the stain box
with a ruined liver
& half a lung.
Dover whenever I smell vanilla
your glazed blue eyes undo me
your 9-year-old drunken laughter
rocks my heart
Dover come back to my birthday party
in your white suit
back to the tree of heaven
the hole in the fence
March 21, 1996