The 2River View 27.1 (Fall 2022)

Brian Builta


Dear Austin,

Enough time has passed for you to be a toddler again, innocent in life, a walking talking little drunk man, all learning and seeing and doing laid out before you. At two years, two months the world is possible, bright and electric. You play with Tupperware and the dead wolf spider under the curtain, a bar of sunlight on the carpet. You are calm, sharp and quiet with wit and grace. I want to be you, spend every moment in the birdsong of your presence. Two years, two months is a moment. The throb returns in a windstorm. Reality, that musty math teacher, converts us. Something bloodthirsty pulses around us. You wade into the accident area and disappear. What we have feared, unfurls. Everything is loud, the deafening clap of your absence, the ever-opening bloom of loss.


—for Austin

Some days I wander lost in the woods
amid pine and pine plunder. Then, in
a clearing I see a boy in rowdy red
on his father’s shoulders, hands laced
like a strap under dad’s chin. Together

they are eight feet tall. At my desk
I am supposed to perform, but I
wonder what you are doing, which
tree you are blowing through, how
it is to be light. What would you

tell me if you could? Two rocks
descended from stone, we didn’t talk
much, more like the pulse of
wobbly wheels on pavement, the rattle
dash, open wind-whooshed windows.

Should I have said something important?
Hugged less awkward? All that running
you did and from what? Pain still stood
at the finish line, cheering on your
obliterated destiny with gathering dust.

Brian Builta works at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth. He has recently published poems in Jabberwock Review, Juke Joint Magazine, and South Florida Poetry Journal, with poems forthcoming in New Ohio Review and TriQuarterly.

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