Before I learned the risk in expectations
or how black holes warp spacetime,
I leaned over my uncle’s telescope
mounted like a SCUD in the vinyl bed of his blue Ford
and listened as my mom told my aunt, Oh,
I named him after his dad.
My left lashes tickled the aluminum eyepiece
as I searched the sky for Gemini
in that thick, moonless advent,
gloved fingers stirring silver exhalations
that curled like incense, like ghosts
instead of angels. My uncle wanted us to see
some not-famous comet. I wanted to see
the twins that mapped my start. I’ll show you
in the spring, he promised, assuming the future so soon
after Grandpa had become past tense a week before
I heard my mom on the phone, whispering
Let’s do something Daddy always enjoyed.
I wondered where Grandpa really went, what
he really believed, if he ever smiled, why
I did not know his middle name before I read his obituary.
I named you after your dad, my mom said
over her shoulder, holding my dad’s hand
as they walked home ahead of me.
Hailing from the farm valleys of west Appalachia, Ben Kline lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, toiling away on his full-length manuscript and two chapbooks, drinking just the right amount of bourbon and more coffee than seems wise. His work is forthcoming or has recently appeared in Graviton, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, petrichor, Riggwelter, Grist Online, Trailer Park Quarterly, Rappahannock Review, Toe Good and many more. You can read more at www.benkline.online