The article I was reading described the moment
65 million years ago when an asteroid 50 miles wide
scorched through the atmosphere and punched
a hole in the Yucatan Peninsula spanning 93 miles
and sent fire and molten debris into the sky
to choke and burn most anything living, and,
at that terrible moment, birthed tiny daubs of hot detritus
which went sailing around the globe and rained down
everywhere as solid droplets of sudden glass: tektites.
Dark heralds of instant disaster. This in my head
a second before your mom found ants
behind the coffee maker, coming up from where?
Underneath the stove, or maybe behind the fridge,
and just as I’d pulled out both to discover swarms
of tiny black motion you burst in with a Nerf gun
and howled at your brother and I swung around
and growled, take that outside, and you left, steaming,
as I turned back to the mess, and a moment later
went out to the garage for the ant spray and found you
there scowling, and I said I was frustrated with you,
and you said, you’re not angry about me, dad,
you’re angry about the ants, and you were right
in the way that sons are always right about their fathers.
Because, yes, it was about the ants, and it was about
time needed to solve the ant problem and clean the kitchen,
time I didn’t have, and it was about you bursting in
and yelling and your sound cutting in like crater.
And it was about everything else, the way
outbursts always are: about work, and money,
and failing, and fear of losing it all suddenly
in an instant cloud of ash pluming from nowhere
to pin me down in death, and yes, the ants,
the fucking ants, and you, about how fast you move
through time and how when you were born
it was yesterday and how unprepared I was to love
as much as I love you, and every day passing
is one more closer to extinction, one less that you need
me, and someday you won’t need me
to drive you to baseball, or help with math, or even
say goodnight when dark comes.
So tonight I’ll tell you I’m sorry, I’ll place my hand
on your head like the day you were born
and say goodnight, and leave to bring my own body
to bed to slow my head, the spinning,
the fading, the cadence of my heart, or yours,
or the sky opening in rhythm to fill the night
with the tapping of tektites. Sudden glass,
65 million years of it, dark jewels pouring
from legend, taking all creatures forward
and backward in time and darkness toward
beauty. Toward some wide peace.
Taking us both toward sleep.
Mike Bove is the author of Big Little City (Moon Pie Press, 2018). His poems have appeared in Rattle, Poetalk, The Cafe Review, and others. He lives in Portland, Maine with his family.