When he says no

as some boy or man inevitably will,

it may be that he is still growing from one

into the other, or unaware of what he wants,

hasn’t learned the language that lifts

your diamond soles.

It could be his longing bends toward a secret

other, who may someday stir

a slumbering ache, blow its acrid tang

across your harbor

of forgetting.

Or perhaps it is you he travels

toward after all, nameless color

of a stain he traces, maze

of sugar in his palm.

Or not.

Or maybe…

because is just because.

The point is, no is not an exclamation

mark, parentheses curled around the sum

of still becoming.

You remain you, sass rolled

onto your tongue, glitter streak

in your veins.

And though a shuttered yes can halt

flight, blast its shadow

into the breath of future wanting

you must know:

you are the kingdom and the key,

bone of unbreakable sun-bright

bone, gift of sky and orchard filling

up space and always

the beholder —

supernova flash, cosmos of song

tempted, among boys becoming

men and men afraid of being men,

to claim

this light

belongs to them.

(for my niece)