I Like To Think Of You As A Little Boy

Annie Spratt
Annie Spratt

I like to think of you as a little boy
jumping off the 2nd story of that New England house,
a red cape stuffed into the back of your shirt
so sure you could fly
if you just picked the right spot

I like to think of you as a little boy
how you soared for a second,
maybe even two
before plummeting,
hitting the ground so hard
with friends all watching
you’d tell me,
“I came down so powerfully, I got the wind knocked out.”

still, a superhero to me.

I like to think of you as a little boy
playing in the woods across the street from your home.
did you know there is a bench there now?
it has your name and the first time I saw it,
I was too sad to look
so I pretended, but averted my gaze.
there are things I still can’t focus on
knowing I can’t later tell you.

you were five years old when you learned about death,
had a turtle who died and couldn’t understand
why he simply stopped moving.
but you never really gave up on things
before giving it all you’ve got,
so you hooked the tiny body up to your toy train set,
thought the electric waves could jolt your friend
back to life.

didn’t work, but you tried.

oh, Dad, how you always tried.

when I was eight, I told you I thought about death
and how the existence of nothingness did not make sense.
you said, “not all things do. but we love each other and do our very best.”

you didn’t just do your very best.
you were more than the best.

you loved me like you were that little boy thinking he could jump out a window
and still land safely,
like an optimist,
like a believer that everything is going to be okay
if you just love me hard enough and Dad
you loved me so well,
so well, in fact,
even after you’re gone I can hear you
telling me it’s going to be okay.

I know, I don’t always believe you,
but it’s going to be okay.

that little boy thought it was going to be okay
even as he collided face first,
it was still okay.

sometimes, I’m afraid I’ve forgotten
how to stand back up. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Ari Eastman

✨ real(ly not) chill. poet. writer. mental health activist. mama shark. ✨

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