methow grist 2011-2014 archive

My Father Crosses the Road

My father crosses the road
NH’s blushing leaves crackling
under his boots, red maple,
brilliant beneath a blue blasted sky.
My father crosses the road

enters the white barn’s darkness.
He fills bushel baskets with bottles
his father stashed in the prickly hay,
bottles emptied of rye and rum
glinting in October’s sun.

Now, 97 years have worn him
to a shadow in a nursing home bed.
He worries a train schedule
believing he’s in uniform, a Corpsman
in Mississippi's thick magnolia air.
He speaks weakly of going on leave,
Army trains heaving north to his father’s funeral.

My father crosses the road
waits for the train heading south
back to his duties
carrying baskets of laundry, baskets
of soiled sheets, baskets of Army issue.
My father crosses the road.



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