Friday, July 15, 2022

Witness my father who drives and hums the notes to a song I do not know and I

            do not attempt to ask for fear that in asking he would stop

to explain, thus diminishing the magic of his throat as we travel along

            the Susquehanna. Witness, too, the clouds that resemble a hive

of bees, the crows and the triumph of their carrion, the river that could carry

            our faces if we came close enough. Witness that my favorite color

has always been blue for reasons not always clear to me, but if I had to assign

            a color to mercy, it would be that—I do not know

my father’s favorite color and this being yet another question

            I do not ask having gone this long without knowing.

I look over at his head that appears to shrink in the distance between

            our seats. Some afternoons when I was younger he rested his head

in my lap so I could extract his white hairs. Itchy, he complained

            about their stiffness, about time. I am roughly the same age

he was when he would ask me to cradle his head away from the clamor

            of his three sons, my fingers smaller then. At this rate, you won’t have any

hair left, my brothers and I would tell him, but in that silence, he would fall

            asleep while I tested the tenderest spots on his scalp, worried I might pull

the wrong thread and unravel my father, have to spool his head together—

            what child does not worry about reassembling their parents

when asked? What would I have told my mother then? I pulled

            and pulled on my father, wondering how this will end.

Friday, July 15, 2022