I recall not wanting my oldest son
To quit saying upslide down. The charms
Of children’s speech can’t be gainsaid.
His little brother, told to behave,
Would shout, “I am! I am being have!”
My own little brother’s been gone for an age.
Who used but-cept for except as a kid.
The shock of his death at 36–
Well, I still may see some random person,
Who in speaking displays a facial movement
That brings him back– then sends him away.
That blighted young man, I don’t need to say,
At one time was two young parents’ baby.
I’ve lived both long and, it now seems, quickly.
Our grandsons and -daughters have their own locutions,
Endearing, beguiling. I’d like to lock them
In place until I’m no longer here,
To have their childhood argot endure,
Language a means to wondrous reference,
Not to what’s aptly called a sentence.
There’s pleasure of course in what I recall,
But-cept wistfulness suffuses it all.