You’ve got his eyes, she said.
And his smile, he added. They turned
To look at each other, their expression
One and the same. Literal minded
As we are at four or five, for a while
I considered myself a composite being,
A patchwork of pre-existing features,
Not an original, certainly not unique.
I was careful, later, with my own sons
Not to bequeath them a cast of traits,
A sense their aptitudes and by extension
Their paths in life were preordained,
Determined by genetics.
And then one day, one cicada singing
Summer afternoon, reaching for distraction
In old photo album, we opened at my uncle
In shirt and crooked tie, his shy half-smile
Lighting up the page. My youngest stared,
Then looked up at me, and said, ‘Mum,
You’ve got his eyes.’ I nodded and thought
Of my mother, the echoes and reverberations
She’d pick up in things and people
That others didn’t see.
And my son, he had her mind.