I wish you’d asked me why I chose a childhood
photo of myself smiling to place beside my bed.
I would have told you something halfway intelligent
like it’s to remind myself I can still have some innocence
even if I need a little illusion to help me get there.
The truth is I refuse to grow up
and that I’ve stumbled across decades stuttering
into middle age,
only to learn happiness isn’t a point of view,
that it’s something I can’t put in a frame.
Happiness doesn’t rise out of memory
and it isn’t something I can see with a telescope
that’ll always remind me of what I can’t touch.
You can fondle your beard until it licks your face,
and I can’t see through your certainty
even though I pretend to,
but that kid in the picture by the bed isn’t here anymore,
and that’s why his picture is beside the bed.