At her father’s funeral
She was a comb over.
Thinning and apparent
Neurotically put together with care
Everyone pretended not to notice—
If the wind were to blow
They’d see her come apart.
His sweet little long-haired lady.
She was seven
They rolled a plastic ball
Bought at C-Town.
She swung from branches.
He sat pressed against the
Lone tree on top of Hank’s Hill
Watching her feet dangle.
Radio hummed discretely
The early Sunday evening
Sneaking Black and Mild’s
While her boyfriend bought week’s groceries.
Listening to Bowie’s Low
She counted feet on her eyes
In the mirror. Bathroom
Smelled of boyfriend’s
Recently Rogained head.
Her father’s call made her.
For the first time she gasped at
Mortality’s neighborhood threat
And breathed in her father’s chills.
On the final day of her father’s visit
They took the train home from dinner.
He didn’t mind the platform humidity
It eased his sawdust bones.
When the train arrived
She carried him on.
On the faded orange seats
She rubbed his bare scalp.
Two Africans bounced with bongos.
His breathing mimicked the rhythm.
She told him to try to relax.
Her father smiled
And handed her
His last piece of toffee.
Eric Silvera’s writing has appeared in many publications, including Nerve, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Five2One Magazine, Underground Voices, HYPERtext Magazine, Rat’s Ass Review, The Poeming Pigeon, and Shelf Life Magazine, been featured on The Other Stories podcast, won Slice Magazine’s “Bridging the Gap” prize, and was shortlisted for Matrix Magazine’s 2010 Lit POP award. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from the City College of New York.
Edward S. Gault is a poet and fine art photographer. He lives at Mosaic Commons, a co-housing community in Berlin, Ma. He has a wife Karen, and daughter.