Open Letter to Henry

It is so strange,
the photograph
I was given of you,
because the man in it
is me
and not me.

It is me
in costume
it is me at a distance
squinted into focus.

I do not know
about myself
has been buried
with you.

As I
into a man
I do not know
I’ve become
a mystery
to myself.

How many times
have I laughed
your voice
echoing through me.

How many times
have I missed you
waving back at me
from behind
every mirror
while I
washed my hands
cut my hair.

How many times
have you touched me
with my own hand.

My inheritance
probably lies
in habits
that annoy me the most.

The sound
I make
clearing my throat
the broad toss
of my chest
when I walk
or the desolate
we shared in our heads
in our empty rooms
in our isolated youth.

How many times
have we been
so alone
we overlooked
one another
as close
as any man
to his own

From Black Steel Magnolias In the Hour of Chaos Theory. Copyright © 2018 by James Cagney. Published by Nomadic Press. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.