Son Room

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Freud's Swiss-army-knife opened the spectral lid
of the unconscious
with no less awe than we this door.

Here myth's kite snagged adolescent power lines,
down that string the primal electric flicking his body's switches.
This boy, his own executioner.

We of the bad back
walk among the ruins of what we've made
now unmade into his own.

Once his tractor plowed this pocked hardwood
among blocks and Match Box wrecks,
amid scuffed baseballs and Lego shambles.

Now the vestigial and iconic lie,
awaiting the lie.
Impatience rules where clocks tick not tock enough.

Waiting marks the province of old folks,
mewling how a son's age ages them.
The room's text message to grownups: gro up!

This, the young man's last lost domain,
facile castle where everything's resolved
by guns and balls.



Kevin Stein has published ten books of poetry and criticism, including the essay book Poetry's Afterlife: Verse in the Digital Age (University of Michigan Press, 2010). Among his recent poetry collections are Sufficiency of the Actual (University of Illinois Press, 2009) and American Ghost Roses (University of Illinois, 2005) – winner of the Society of Midland Authors Poetry Award. He teaches at Bradley University. Since 2003, he's served as Illinois Poet Laureate.

About the Author