After years away from the city
you return and find your father
in a family album suddenly grown
younger, grown younger like the cops
in squad cars patrolling the streets,
licensed teenagers, the faint
figure-eight imprints of prophylactics
still in their bulky wallets.
He is younger than you now,
knows less than you, though he tries
to hide it with a cocked head
and arched eyebrows. Your mother
a virgin beside him with a virgin’s
smile. You are in that smile
the way the sun is in a coffee bean
or a good cigar, waiting
for the magic to release you.
And you are in your father’s house now,
years later, somehow still a child,
but strangely father to the man at last,
waiting for the magic to release you.