For My Son Josh and His Best Friend David turning thirteen

By Doug Rawlings


If ‘namvets were ancient shamans
now would be the moment
we’d choose
to give you shelter
from the coming storm

But we are merely
survivors of suburbs and cities
not forest nor mountain
Modern men
offering you our silences
our words
to guide you going out on your own

Yet we have known for years now
that the silences of our fathers will not do

And we have known that words alone
cannot bleed you free
of your raging doubts

So listen up
to what we have found
between silences and words:

Open up your fists

Watch women move

Scorn uniforms

Don’t march