Being Sage: You Had to Be There

For Kate Hunter & Brian Buckley
A late morning
summer chill
sweeps ’round
the café
my cowlick.
Yes, I am
wearing shorts
a sweater.
Yes, we are
sixteen years
into the third
the west
a prophet.
I was beginning
to lose hope
when I saw
the baby
in that
pickup truck
the steering wheel.
Dad leans forward
and kisses
the back of
her head.
* * *
I wrote this poem in a small town called Murphys in gold country, California. It’s a built
attempt at getting myself out of the way of the landscape, letting go of institutional
concerns in order to really notice what love there is in the world. The final event in this
poem brought me to tears when I saw it happen, and it reminded me of how much
lasting power a small gesture of love can and will have, and it filled me with gratitude for
the people (especially the parents) I know who show this kind of love to their daughters,
daughters who will undoubtedly experience violence, in some form, perpetrated by men.

-Joe Braun

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