My father worries the pressure’s gotten worse
that only touch will see him
through until the whorls of the world fade
away, the hand in front of his face.
He asks if I still see my mother
and if memories keep
the promises of dreams. I say he’ll be fine,
I say. Draw whirlpools behind your eyes.
Each tide must turn. He says these things
are hereditary. I take the path
of least resistance, speak in autumn:
burning leaves and the spice
port leaves on your tongue
when the sun has all but sunk
with the warmth of a cousin’s kiss. I describe
the light as watery, he says it’s mist.
by Neil Flatman
Editor’s Note: The tension between the father and son in this poem is understated, but all the more poignant because of its hidden cost.