Once upon a time
When things were simple
You took the classes,
Bought the brushes,
And daubed the canvas-
But never found your
Voice.

Now every summer,
Without anger,
You give those
Who found a voice
A chance,
Through your
Gallery.

No major talents,
Still, you've had
Small successes:
Talented kids
With much to say;
You make sure
That they are heard.

This time you're
Going to fail them-
Not one canvas hung.
The walls shine bare-
You've been sick;
You no longer
Have the strength.

He shows up
At the back door,
Stray cat in the rain-
Bleached hair and
Punk-black nails
Absurd against
Cargos and loafers.

You ask him in,
He tosses aside
A cigarette,
You offer him
Hot chocolate,
He asks you
What to do.

Head pounding,
You sit in your office
Watching him
Open crates,
Leaning hopeful
Canvases
Up against the walls.

Chewing Tylenol
You join him,
Telling him where
These voices go,
A cigarette dangles
From the corner
Of his mouth.

Walls adorned,
He steps back,
Cigarette now
Behind one ear.
Looking at you
Anxiously-
Wanting you approval?

Head pounding,
You smile
And kiss
Between the
Eyes,
The son you never
Had.