When we first told you

Gail, remember the boy that broke
his neck on the campus lawn—
just kidding around, turning flips
with his college buddies?
He got his diploma this afternoon
and a standing ovation that had to stop.

When we first told you about this boy,
your face turned lost, you thought
of your own at twenty-one,
somersaulted into a field by a Mack truck.

That was a moment I could love you,
though sons-in-law are poor in love.
That was a moment love lay
languishing before you, bleeding
from a crown of thorns
and once more giving up your ghost.