They’d been hating so long and were glad to revive that.
Sometimes I sit in the closet between coats
of various weights, whimpering about this sheltering
country. I just read that some U.S. citizens are sad
about Sweden. Others are stuck in the seam
of the absolute. It is nearly impossible to see
how the country is reveling in these tight preferences.
I have seven coats and hate five of them.
Overhead, a drone of astonishments. The earth carries
its responsibilities and remnants: nests, salt, grit.
Every Sunday, the armory down the road runs its green planes
over our house until the air is barbed in their leftover
tracks. I used to sew witness and three days a week
cast around moping. Behaviors are often shaped
in reverse. The closet I’m in had once burned
with hallucinations. We rid it of that and put up racks
to order our wine by the region and to house
successive photos of my mother. All my love of a ghost
in two boxes. My father’s mere fist, invisible in images,
still filled each frame. I don’t mean to say there was fear—
certainly not now that he is hollowed out to a coat
of a man in the shape of my father. Anyway, it is easy
to gather memory in my arms.
The planes are nearby, spitting their heat
over our land, sleeving each safety. We will never be indifferent
when Dad says the same story, then is ready to wear
his forgetting to dinner. In the kitchen, I sweep up everything
that has dropped, crawl under the table. Sometimes, it helps
to find a space to fall into, to hear only owls
skin absolute silence on pockets of air.
One night at dinner, a million dinners ago, Dad threw a slab
of beef past my mother’s curled hair and the blood
of the meat dripped down the kitchen cabinets.
When his forgetting first started, we were pleased
the past was receding. In this small room
at the back of my house, I realize
how much time it takes to gather grief. I pick tonight’s bottle.
The faces I store in white boxes see my questions and laugh.