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.