Sometimes in the afternoon I see him,
blurry from sleep, silently enter the kitchen,
pour a bowl of cereal. Or just at sunset
through the door of the TV room, above the couch,
I catch a glimpse of the back of his head.
And once at three am I woke to let the dog out and,
noticing light in the yard from the study windows,
I padded down the hall in my cold bare feet
and saw him there at his computer, staring.
If I say hello, he answers.
His crumpled black car appears sometimes
beside mine at the back of the driveway,
so I know he has been away and returned.
He lives here, my placid little boy who loved me.
His goatee grows from week to week,
or gets shaved away. His bedroom emits
the pale, unpleasant arc of body odor from his bedding
or the disconsolate heap of unwashed laundry.
He is thinner now. There is a case
of beer under the coffee table
that he has drunk or will drink some long night
as the house lies sleeping.
Somnambulant son: Wake up! Wake up!
My longing passes through him like sunlight.
Gail Rudd Entrekin teaches English and Creative Writing at Sierra College. Her newest book of poems, Change (Will Do You Good) was released in April 2005 from Poetic Matrix Press. Previous poetry collections are You Notice the Body (Hip Pocket Press, 1998) and John Danced (Berkeley Poets Workshop & Press, 1984). Poetry editor of Hip Pocket Press since 2000, she edited the anthology Sierra Songs & Descants: Poetry & Prose of the Sierra in 2002 and the California Poets in the Schools Anthology in 2000. She lives in Nevada City, California, with her husband and the youngest of their five children.