Beisch Speak: A Poem

To a Young Son

by June Robertson Beisch

Today I passed your room

and you were slowly quietly

combing your hair.

It was a pleasant, calm moment.

I felt the silence of the room

and could almost hear you growing.

You combed without a mirror,

your eyes distant and pale,

your head slowly nodding

like the head of a stroked animal.

Xerxes the King sent out a spy

who returned to camp, astonished to say

that the Spartans were all stripped to the waist

their bodies gleaming in the Aegean sun

and they were all carefully combing their hair.

The king was afraid then.

The Spartans were preparing to die.

I turn slowly from your doorway

and return to the linen closet where I

will fold this memory in my heart

among everything that is clean and fresh and white.