When his mind grew empty
and his heartbeat slowed to a vague stutter,
our father no longer walked the fields at night.
it’s the first time in my life
that I’ve ever had an image
or maybe it just an idea
(which was still bad enough)
of my parents doing it,
having sex, grabbing each other
In the act of eating watermelon no one
ever pulled a trigger, spoke harshly
to a child, swatted a butterfly out
of the sky, or told a lie for money.
voices chorusing woods and fields, ringing
off the stone walls she runs beside, light
and fleet, silent as new snow falling through
I had his phone number, the guy from the A.A. meeting. I held it in my hands. I was terrible on the phone, but he would never call me. He said he couldn’t approach women. It was up to me.