You Should Be 21
From a Boy to a Man
You should be 21 today.
In my mind, I can see the young man that you should have been;
Tall and handsome, with those beautiful dark curls that you hated, but I loved.
I can see your smile, as you blow out the candles on your birthday pie.
You always wanted pie, instead of cake; chocolate cream with chocolate sprinkles.
I should be taking you to Cripple Creek today,
Finally, you’d be old enough to play my kind of games;
No extra lives, or bosses to fight, or strategies to learn,
But when the lights flash like crazy and the bells ring,
And the machine goes “cha ching, cha ching” and the coins fall,
It would be better than unlimited lives or unlimited weapons
And your smile would light up your face and those beautiful eyes would sparkle.
I’d offer you a birthday drink, but I don’t know if you’d accept.
Nothing with caffeine or other drugs for my boy.
Would you put alcohol in your body, even just this once, to celebrate?
You should be excited now, as your dad hands you a set of keys.
Never mind that I can’t afford to fix my own car.
If you were here, everything would have been different.
We would be working together to illustrate my poetry book now.
Your story would have been published and we’d be raking in the dough.
If you were here, you’d be almost through with welding classes
And you’d be preparing to go off to start your new career in underwater welding.
You dad would be healthy, because there would be no stress from missing you
And cancer would never have reared its ugly head.
I would still feel that my life was blessed and my faith in God would never waver.
If you were here, your brother would come out of his game world
And take a walk, or spar with you.
Instead, your swords sit above his T.V., collecting dust.
You should be with a nice girl; one that wouldn’t break your heart
And make you want to leave this world, leaving your family torn and anguished.
You should be 21, and I should be able to feel your hug as I tell you, “Happy Birthday”.