Son & Heir

The heirs will not consent—from an 1853 English telegraphing guide, called The Traveler’s Vade Mecum; or Instantaneous Letter Writer.

The day I stop wishing for his money—cut myself
From his unwritten will—rub out the rainy-day faces
From the piggybank riches that can only be mine—

Then I’ll be alone with my body—my disinherited
Rust—my still-workable bones—
I’ll take it for walks—it will be my animal—

Short walks—on a low-numbered city street—
Days before Halloween—when the body
Has to be kept on a short leash—it might run off—

And I’ll worry maybe my father—being among the dead—
Will find me—don’t look I’ll say—not even in store windows—
Everything a bare mirror to be stumbled into—

Not even in the jewelry shop at dusk—velvet throats
Stripped of their bling—
What will I have then but passwords—

This one to shut down the account—
This one to read the messages—
This one to not beg favors—of the remembered ones—

Remembered I mean in a codicil—
The dressed-up walking by people—
All the others made by the one who made me—

Michael Tyrell is the author of the poetry collection The Wanted and has published poems in many magazines, including recent issues of Fogged Clarity, The New Republic, and The Iowa Review. With Julia Spicher Kasdorf, he edited the anthology Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn.