Every holiday, her homeless son had sent her a postcard,
sometimes a text,
even a staticky telephone call—
but he’d died long ago,
& the man who’d accidentally killed him
had picked up where he’d left off.
she could not tell.
This man knew enough to know that what kept this woman in the world
was knowing that her only begotten was still in it,
for where there was survival,
there was hope for change.
The man grew to love her as his own late mother,
but could never give her the gift
of believing that her prodigal had found his way,
out of fear that she would ask him to finally come home.