The day a father dies December snow
falls merciless and clean. His boy of twelve
creates an impromptu shrine before shelves
of records fraying at their seams. He blows
between the sides small asteroids of dust
that accumulate on the stylus tip.
And so begins a wordlessness that flips
dusk to stars, a mom to trembling that must
steady and scrape a plate gone cold away.
She leaves him orbiting to leave the world
and make her soundless shrieks in bed, curled
inside a faded robe that cauls her face.
Hazy amber dials glow against the black.
A shadow fumbles for the headphone jack.
Adam Tavel’s third poetry collection, Catafalque, won the 2017 Richard Wilbur Book Award and is forthcoming from the University of Evansville Press. He is also the author of The Fawn Abyss (Salmon Poetry, 2017) and Plash & Levitation (University of Alaska Press, 2015), winner of the Permafrost Book Prize in Poetry. His recent poems appear in Verse Daily, Willow Springs, Crazyhorse, Copper Nickel, Pleiades, 32 Poems, Third Coast, Atlanta Review, and Arts & Letters, among others.