Willis Barnstone

The Lost Son (Luke 15.11-32)

We were two sons. Father gave me my share
of wealth and soon I gathered a few clothes
and books and took a ship into the glare
of Paris where I spent my loot on booze
and women, and one night of revelry
I got so stoned a thief came to my room,
bagged everything I owned in sheets. With glee
he tapped downstairs and fled. I felt no gloom
and never wrote my folks until I starved
in Spain. By then my father died, and I
came back to search for him. He saw me far
away from where he lay and called, “I carved
a cloud in here for you.” “Make me your slave,
I’ve sinned,” I moaned. “Take me from sun.” But he
said, “You my child were dead and now you are
alive,” and kissed my face from his dark grave.

Wills Barnstone
Wills Barnstone is a director of From the Fishouse. He is the author of more than a dozen collections of poetry; the most recent is Life Watch (BOA Editions, 2003), in which The Lost Son (Luke 15.11-32) appears.
Poem, copyright © Willis Barnstone, 2003
Appearing on the Fishouse with permission
Audio file, copyright © 2005, From the Fishouse