Nothing nothing nothing and then a spark of something I once knew:
The old farm house on a Missouri country road,
a pandemonium of wild flowers in the sky every evening
and who would need a skyscraper then?
The bustle of cities to the peepers shredding the dark with song is no comparison.
I want the night hanging in tatters from the good noise,
I want the purple scales of the fish across the street,
the pond next to the yard next to the house that Jim and Mary Lou keep.
The dirt road that nana scraped her knee on,
my father lapping up the last of the bourbon.
the trees & the trees & the trees,
gummy July and my father’s slicked sweat dripping after another day pruning,
and you try to say that the California heat is oppressive?
Missouri is a skillet,
flat and butter yellow in summer and trees take shape for the Christmas taking.
I carry the buckets of saplings through the rows,
my father rises like an elevator to spray the tops of the five year old trees,
I put the babies in the ground and the wet mud slurps them home,
gobbles the shy roots and there it is, life,
the Christmas tree farm has birthed another son, or daughter
and I’m just happy it’s summertime,
the smells come thicker then,
the pork sizzling, the dusk invading a blue sky, can’t you smell that?
The purple martins cling to their sky-homes,
the strawberries are ripe and I make my shirt a butcher’s apron,
my mouth drips with fruit-blood and that’s living,
the garden will burn in the fall but now it busts open with life,
and my father too,
hands of shovels,
hands of seed.
My Father Crabs on Lucy Pier
Somewhere near the ocean, there sits Lucy Pier
built by an old hammer, a circular saw, and my father’s rough hands.
He is on a knee
raw chicken on four lines
and he methodically pulls each up,
nets the blue crabs still gnawing on the tender poultry.
The horizon is long and soft blue and he doesn’t notice.
The stiff heat bakes his long back and hunched shoulders.
The sun sets and he switches knees.
He pulls until the wagon red cooler can’t fit another serrated claw.
My father has made a living pulling things out of water.
Part of me believes he wishes his wife a different inevitable death, not
Mother of my children with tumor body and morphine blood
Love of my life at the bottom of the bay,
Love of my life with seaweed growing through her teeth,
Then, he might sit atop the full cooler,
the humid dark pressing itself around him,
tie his best Blood Knot against his wedding ring, his entire ring finger, his whole left arm,
his most trusted bait
and toss it off her pier,
just to feel anything bite.