Photo of a Boy with a Football


By John Eisner

To this moment’s me
attached observer
as close to my end as
this boy is to my beginning,
the scene seems staged
more custom than passion
on this early spring park visit
the sun offering no warmth bequeaths

only a stick framed shadow
to the day’s festivities
the boy’s expression enigmatic
revealing nothing by telling all
pinched smile, tilted head,
squinting eyes measuring the afternoon
already at ease with the suburbia
his of childhood

if time could reverse itself
like in a third marriage, my grown
lately wizened frame catapulted from
its high plains roost, cocked porkpie hat
and serape in-tow, here regarding this
hawk faced figure, who was my father,
now long gone urging with gestures
from decomposed hands and myself

although life times older
still sizing the moment with
equal squint
trapped between mud and sky
at home with my own
brand of comfort
not much difference really
then to now as now to then.

surely if looked for,
with all available science,
this same spot could be found
this even then patch of worn grass
where noise from the avenue
subdues even the sanctity of trees
when bleached sunlight filtering in
from a sepia sky could illuminate this

boy in self dating high cuffed jeans
high topped sneakers, shoulder
padded jersey and heirloom leather helmet,
white tipped football held aloft and
a smiling father, still too young for bitterness,
exalted by a moment’s perfection for once
focused, camera in hand, now unconcerned
with the tumultuous future rushing towards them.

John Eisner, a builder, raised two children with his wife Maureen on the Island in the 1980s. Recently returned from 3½ years in Mexico, he now lives year-round in Chilmark.