I Drive Through a Blizzard for a Cup of Tea
I don’t even like tea. Piss water with lemon.
But my son has invited me. This boy
I thought I’d lost and would never see again.
Our tents near a lake, dusk falling. His mother
cleaning dishes, me helping a fellow
camper pump his tires. Then blackness.
Where is he? Age four, did he wander off?
Was he snatched by some pervert?
Dear God in heaven. This boy.
Is he in someone’s tent begging
not to be touched? Is he in someone’s car
heading to a seedy motel or dark alley?
Is he face-down, bobbing in the lake?
I run barefoot for miles, screaming:
Where are you Jonathan? Where are you,
son? Minutes like hours. Making deals
with God. Then finally, a park ranger
finds him a block away at the playground
swinging all alone. “I just wanted fun,
Through sheets of white.
Sliding, barely avoiding a ditch.
He greets me.
We sit on his couch.
He tells me about his first role,
This boy I almost lost forever.
Then he explains the benefits
of green tea. Antioxidants.
How it makes you more alive.
We part the curtains and watch the snow.
He brings out his costume.
We joke about the tights. This boy.
I sip the pale green liquid,
finish, ask for more.
First appeared in Naugatuck River Review – Summer 2014
Neil Carpathios is the author of three full-length poetry collections: Playground of Flesh (Main StreetRag), At the Axis of Imponderables (winner of the Quercus Review Press Book Award), and Beyond the Bones (FutureCycle Press). A fourth collection is nearing completion. He also has published several award-winning chapbooks. He is the editor of the anthology, Every River on Earth: Writingfrom Appalachian Ohio (Ohio University Press, 2015). He also is a newspaper columnist for the Portsmouth Daily Times. His column, "Let's Talk Poetry," appears every Sunday and strives to showcase the works of regional and national poets. This past year he was awarded his third Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council in poetry. He is an associate professor of English and Coordinator of Creative Writing at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.