Father, asleep, brutalizes his beard.
I stroke his hand, check for breath.
His lids sag over bloodshot eyes.
Awake, he’ll talk with a wink,
Walk with a limp, repeat his little cache
Of stories until I need him
To never stop.
Mortality’s a fast drain, swirling
Into eternity our few paltry loves.
Father, where are you? Tell me another story.
Come: touch my hand. I lost you in the dark.
I Glimpse, Briefly, My Dead Father Among the Cranes
My father stoops by the river bank.
Here, seven cranes cluster,
Lift dripping beaks,
Their black eyes antediluvian.
Watching my father walk by,
They seem grieved
To release him, as do I
When he turns his back, wanders off
Into the fog to his ripped
Chair in a living room too frequently
Shadowed. Here, breathless, confused,
He’ll sit in the dark for years
Though I’ll never forget him
Or forget I’m his daughter
Who—unlike him—will die alone.
Will die forgotten.
Terri Brown-Davidson is the author of Rag Men, winner of The Ledge Chapbook Contest. Work of hers has appeared in Los Angeles Review, North American Review, South Dakota Review, and Triquarterly New Writers.