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Father and Sons

For David, Daniel, and Jonah Akiba

There is a space between them,
in that space they hold cameras.
The father with his old-fashioned lens,
the son with a modern video camera.
The third man, the other son,
is the one who is the subject
of both their viewfinders.
That is the way it has always been.
There are those who plunge in,
searching and yearning,
like salmon swimming upstream
till they find their home to spawn.
The others watch, tell the story,
wait for the story to include them.
Loss is inevitable.
It happens whether they expect it or not.
When it comes
they are filming, photographing,
writing, crying, and laughing.
“Chazak chazak veneetchazek,”
my mother took to telling me
shortly after my grandfather
left this world.
Be strong, be strong, and let us strengthen one another.”
This person who dances and davens and laughs before you,
who loves somebody or some life
you cannot understand or approve.
He is still the person
you held in your arms
with whom you waited
until the school bus picked him up.
He is still yours.