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The Year I Turned 14

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The Year I Turned 14 pmh; 1996
Bob Franke challenged me to join his workshop. I cried all week and wrote my first song in almost 20 years. Sometimes you just have to take care of old business. (Kath, I know you weren’t bad, just wild, but I needed the rhyme..)


The year I turned 14 my mother went mad.
My brother fell silent.
My sister turned bad.
We were aching and grieving and nearly insane
the year I turned 14.

The year I turned 14 I cut off my hair.
I grew six feet tall and we moved to the city
where I started high school – all angles and feelings.
No face was familiar.

I had never considered that you might be mortal.
Like all of the rest of us, your time would end.

Still I think of you often and miss you anew
on Christmas and Fathers’ Day
wondering if you’d agree with my politics and laugh at my jokes.
So long now since 14.

The last time I saw you we talked all night through.
I knew I was dreaming and yet it was true.
When dawn kissed the morning sky you turned and you held me.
“You cannot come with me.”