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 SpringsCrazyhorse, Copper Nickel, Pleiades, 32 Poems, Third Coast, Atlanta Review, and Arts & Letters, among others.

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