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ISSUE:  Winter 2005

This should be the dock behind my father’s house:
his Silverton stretching its mooring lines;
his hunting knife, his black pliers a scar
against the cutting board; the stink of gutted fish.

But tonight the Lord’s attention has abandoned
our coastline, plunging it into nothingness.
I’m afraid of looking back
in case the house has disappeared,
the dirt road staggering out of the barns,
the shadows where the retard rubbed his belly.
One of these days, someone will hit him,
so my father said.

It’s better to assume it all remains:
his gun asleep beneath the window,
the moon’s wide, nervous eye.
I try imagining my father’s face.
I try imagining the fish I slipped
into the water when he turned his head
swimming vibrant as a lung,
but it floats, bloated and gelatinous.

Glancing at my wrists again,
I can see the bones, the bloodying.
I cinch my arms against my chest
and watch the woods ascend,
how the pine trees hesitate
and await my hands, which, at his word,
have snuffed and dealt such life.


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