The boy with his mother in the photo,
the boy with riding boots and a long path behind him
leading to the seashore in fall,

whose legs tangle below the knee his mother's skirts—
wisteria stitched in into twill—he is in some difficulty
now that world is mostly gone. Everyone has a mother, sure.

But does everyone creep into the crook of her arm
as if to live there, does everyone,
arriving home in the afternoons, say voila! l am here!

and from the other room know
her head is full of birds? I am saying know
with certainty. Trailing about each of us

the very possibility of evaporation. Surely not everyone
blooms inside such stillness. Paris can bustle all it wants.
The boy is no longer a photo—I should say

is no longer with his mother in the photo. The legend of the boy,
a man who's had something to say some years running
about the nature of perception

is quiet now. How alarming the empty house,
how nearly debilitating the checkout girl's train
of sable hair. Get up and lick the air—there's no one there

to tell him!—go back with your arms
full of apples. With your arms full of apples
find some reason within reason

to touch her.