Chartered Bank


Standing at his mother’s side
at the teller’s window
he turned to survey the interior of the bank
a sun-filled rotunda
pictures of sailing ships, schooners, East Indiamen
in the crowded harbors of another time

playfully and dreamily
he leaned against his mother
(letting himself fall back against her)
as she conversed with the teller
smiling when she turned to rebuke him
in a language I couldn’t place

I imagine them as constant companions
he on the verge of adolescence
a boy who is sure of his mother’s adoration
with lustrous brown hair and dark eyes
and an openness and humor
that will soon be replaced
with defensiveness and evasion
as the father takes over
casting his shadow across their lives—
the sailing ships gone
the air turned cold
the blue ocean changed to stagnant water…

as mother and son left the bank together
he almost as tall as she
with a certainty in his walk
she linked arms with him
drawing him closer
and for the moment
he was her man, her knight


Stuart Dodds



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