Father’s Tattoo

he never drew attention to the fading lines
bruised blue and black on the forearm
vague insignia from the days when stationed in Japan

except for a day a few years before he passed
when he pointed to it and told me
don’t you get one of these

and i responded as a child will do with something like
okay

this is how we become tethered to another:
the uncomplicated ask
followed by the simple promise
that is held for the whole scope of a life

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Father’s Tattoo

Fault

a neighbor in the early evening grows tired
of the hollering on the other side of the wall
and considers calling the police
except he doesn’t
having remembered
other raised voices

a neighbor in the late evening awakes in his chair
(the light of a nearby lamp
vanquishes the dream
although the heart still thumps)
and leans forward
but if they were home
he does not hear them

Fault

Just After the Last Vestige of Grief Goes Missing

the morning light will reveal
the windows to be in need of cleaning

a ritual phrase — first things first —  said while grinding coffee
will be said

the kitchen will be puttered about
a few dishes in the sink will be cleaned by hand and left
to be air dried
a small pad of paper used to make shopping lists
will not be located in the junk drawer
so window cleaner will be jotted down on the back on envelope
and after the a couple of moments
light bulbs

that the coffee has turned cold
will be of no matter

Just After the Last Vestige of Grief Goes Missing

What Drives Us

broken down on the mountain road
that follows a curving
creek
glacial in its beginnings
and the ravine
seeming to sulk

we should have been home by then
not passing time til the tow-truck rescue

with you in the car
protected

from those winds pushing
the gray sheets overhead

and me
tripping through the underbrush
towards the creek

later i stood on its bank not sure it was the wind
making the trees bend
and creak

then hopped from rock to rock
toward the other side
daring the waters
to pull me in

 

What Drives Us