Prose and Poetry from Web del Sol



And what of fathers and their scents
and funeral homes? We think our parents never had
their poems, that men have never opened eggs
on sides of pans and found them black inside,
then had to leave them out in trash? There's this obsession
with our dads to be confronted, wood
in the sweet first stage of burn
under the glass of the poem
that every one has wrought, or,
failing that, has cut from heart
of oak, or captured from the air in jars
and nets, or peeled from the plastic backs
of school bus seats that were so green,
they put the green of woods to bed?

How do the dead smell? Like paper, bruised
and old, like ink in glass, your father's air encased
in cans, his tools adrift in oil, the headlines
from just forty years before—a hundred names
I never knew, except from war books and action
figures, the sandbox Battle of the Bulge. What then
of loss, or guilt? The rattled bags we drag about
and crack? Our fathers disappeared to town.
The wet black strap or Go-Jo for the laying on
and cleaning off of hands upon return.

Why do we come back here again like strays
or satellites coasting in from apogees,
the travel out from northern states in winter,
where snowmobiles are buried under drifts,
and snowblowers, out of gas, recline. What is it
in the lease or leash, or noose, of this tattoo,
the epoxy so strong, it sets for life?

This would be the spot where we could call
up rhyme or metaphor to fuse the nails
to drywall, the poem's cut and peeling lip
to the salty mine beneath, our fathers
to ourselves, their darking country
to our own. There are the litanies of things
that can't be made, the loads that can't
be hauled, the cants that stubbornly refuse
to decompose in air, cords of wood that, piled,
will not be unsplit, our only fathers' guilt,
the ground in which they are interred, and what
to make of it.

   first published in The Florida Review