Martin Galvin

for Davis, Age 1

He would like to know when he gets to touch
the paintings, when he gets to rub his wet nose
on the belly of Aphrodite, when he is allowed
to sing in the confessional. He would like to know
when they will stop putting signs around the property:
No Hunting,
No Talking,
No Making Hay or Babies Without Permission.

He needs to know why none of the signs
say please. Please Make a U Turn Here
Please Do Not Drive 92 miles per hour.
Take Your Time, Please, to Enjoy the Do
Not Enter Sign before You Don’t.

He would very much like to talk
with his mouth full and chew
with his mouth open. Sometime
soon he would like to go where
he shouldn’t and do what he can’t:
ride a skateboard up the aisle of St. Peter and Paul’s
while the Pontiff is pontificating,
run through the cosmetics section of Saks Fifth Avenue
dribbling a basketball and a cherry Popsicle.

He would like to know when he gets to stroke the sadness
from the Mona Lisa’s eyes, when he gets to climb
the trees and monuments and the Empire State building,
when he gets to go deeper into the forest,
to hide with the giraffes.

He would like to know when we get to the part about the girls.

Martin Galvin’s recent poems have appeared in Poetry, Orion, Painted Bride Quarterly, The New Republic, The Atlantic Monthly, The Christian Science Monitor, and Best American Poetry 1997. His first poetry collection, Wild Card (Washington Writers Publishing House, 1989), won the Washington Prize.