What my Father Found
My father says that he remembers nothing after
finding my grandmother, thrown as if by force
upon the kitchen floor, her blue eyes gone
blank as river stone, blood not red but black,
reaching, as one hand did, into the stillness of air,
the other held inward, as if cradling a book
which no one could have seen or deciphered.
He remembers the bottle of arsenic glinting
in sunlight, the maddening shouts of the crows,
the strange weight of his own breath hovering;
remembers walking slowly back to the car,
easing it up the gravel road to the Halverson’s
to start up a game of afternoon baseball.
I can’t know his thinking, or whether all thought fled.
Yet in my mind’s eye I see him, unwashed jeans
dragging at the heel, the bill of his cap pulled low,
walking much the same as I did at that age,
hands in pockets, gazing vaguely at the ground.
I can see him kicking at the dirt, signaling,
his H&B bat suddenly connecting, startling
the barn swallows out of their secret chambers,
the thin, red stitching of the ball turning
and turning, fast upon itself, shooting past
the billowing tops of summer trees; and below,
the lengthening silhouette of that farm boy
running, running toward a fierce blinding light
where, for one imperceptible moment,
he somehow manages to all but disappear.
by Greg Watson
Editor’s Note: Shock is an indescribable experience, yet this poem somehow manages to bring it forth with stunning imagery and clear focus.
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