Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Son’s Lament in Springtime by Jeff Phallus

Sorrow is our own
overgrown gazebo
where the dirtdauber
drills the beams my father drilled
before but not with the
that turns me this year.

five years
she lived
with my father,
before my cradle
and fourteen
I broke my father’s watch.
There was a time
when I stuck grasshoppers
in the sap of these pines,
down here where
formerly the privet and tulip piles
had been tended by
her in brown gloves
always with a drink in hand,
and ran
and laughed and gave
grits to the ants;
and still though, I only
remember him
with shears or tools and the
silence that does not matter then
but grows more painful with my age
and my own.

Their house is warm
with ladybugs
lining the windowsills.
Each room
smells like burning
leaves and cocoa.
My wife tells me
there are old pictures in a cigar box
under the gingham dresses in my mother’s closet.
I remember one, despite
it all, of my mother and father
on their honeymoon,
with their arms
around each other on
some white beach
bleached in the red of some
sunset with a pelican’s shadow.
I feel that I would like to go there,
some there, and my wife
and fold into those
waters in the belly
of the sea.
I will tell her
after we sell the house
and she will make coffee for me and
say we cannot leave
that you need time
and I will eat my breakfast and
look out the window
over the sink
and see the oak trees
down along
the dirt road and past our barn
and think how wrong she is.

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