There’s a wind I recall.
Winter opened its mouth and the breath came.
Gradually, white covered the overgrown places
Of those planted like slabs
In the field. Houses stayed.
Bodies walked through them
Warming their rooms. Their light
Became the amber glow of a urine specimen
Through which things are watched harshly,
As if they might pass out of sight,
Like the dead; we like to say
They are sleeping and how they
Do not know they are cold and blanketed,
That leaves things clean and undisturbed.
Snow has a way of erasing winter’s damage.
This wind I recall.
It must have been the moaning of my father
When the lead casing of his brain would start to glow,
Lighting his eyes to the lurid colors of tiny
Gas flames. And there he would sit, red hand
A greasy rag on his brow. In times like these,
We would lie on our beds stiff as slats,
Wait for the blue coffin of daylight
To slide away from the window,
Praying for blackness to fall
So he would be tricked into sleeping
And we could just forget.
My father would lift the paper bag
To his lips, take in the warm swallows,
Leave his liver to smoldering,
Like a campfire someone left
To stammer in the woods.
The wind, it rattles things.
I believe it is my father turning over, mumbling,
Rapping his knuckles against the rafters,
Knocking his knees against the eaves. The dead,
They are so pitiful. They want to stand up
And limp away on their stilts. They want
To strum a ruckus on their collar bones.
This cannot be so. Snow has a way
Of erasing their faces, just
Like my father’s, boxed in metal,
A far cry from here.