for mario

i see you on the bed

sleeping away that which remains

of all your early life, the loves

of all your days, a wife

well used and cared for and a daughter

that is joy and careful guilt;

may i be better than my father, god,

may i be kind

and soft and gentle and a man

as good as men can be

and that you have been

for your friends

call out your name with joy

i told you you were better

and repeat that now:

whatever that man said

you need not judge yourself

by what he used to judge the world

you have no taste for arrogance

or for the pride

of self-important money

you are my brother in the flesh

and in the spirit

you are fully entitled

to come back

from self-made prison

though i lie

for it was made for you

by early jeers and sharp

complaints

as though your erstwhile shining self

was not enough

you are enough and more

you are a precious flower

and must continue to endure

and take your place in life

as husband and as father

son and brother

man

for all our seasons

i love you

go now, and be well

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