I had a lamb I brought everywhere
who only had one eye.
At the train stations,
all the grown-ups would say, be mindful
of your things, little boy,
someone will steal right out of your pocket
or take the watch off your wrist.
My dad had a beautiful overcoat.
The lamb’s white fur got smudged.
My brother was a baby,
and in the restaurants,
the old waiters would pick him up
and kiss him again and again on the cheek
with their mustaches
and tell my parents
that they promised they would bring him back in a minute
but now they needed to show the chef.
I don’t remember when the eye became unglued
and who knows where it went.
On long train rides,
I remember falling asleep,
putting my finger in the hole where it used to be.
Once he had to go in an overhead bin,
and he was freezing when I kissed him again.
Copyright © 2023 by Richie Hofmann. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 16, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.