Gift to My Children as They Leave Home, Robert Joe Stout

Marilyn Higginson, Pike Creek, Oil on Wrapped Canvas

Gift to my Children as They Leave Home


Take my darkness—it will do you good.
Take my love unspoken
—you can trust it. Take the sense
that stones surround it. That it burns
in the same pit with anger,
with fuels I feed myself. Close your eyes
and see me
not as eyes and features,
shoulders, hands and torso
but as something forming
in the space between us,
something almost pure.

And take my daylight, lies and laughter.
Take my voice,
not listen to it. Take the space
I place between us. Know my words are rocks
I throw to gain attention.
Take the hurts they cause
and rub them: Like all persons,
I make shadows. Take them,
they are yours.

Robert Joe Stout

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