V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics




Thunder pulses, an echoing hammer
rattling the house. Snapped awake
by a storm of worry dreams my body
mistakes for an urgent call, I am staring
into the bathroom mirror when my son’s voice
mouses under the door: Daddy, where are you?
One of the gifts of fatherhood, my brother
once told me, is to be summoned
from the dingy corridors of your inner life.
I step into my boy’s room wild with relief.
He’s hopped in bed, delighted by my company.
Read me this book, Daddy! Later that morning,
driving through gathering rain to a doctor’s appt.
my night fears directed me to, I spy a sign
on a church lawn that reads “Miracle Day,
Coming Soon” and laugh in a scornful way—
as if one can pencil deliverance into a daybook!
Remember how the pastor chanted Marley
on Earth Day, Every little thing going
to be alright? Too groovy for me, I whispered.
But when he talked of a shift from fear
to faith, I had to agree. Yes, I mouthed.
But how? How on vacation we stayed on
a few perfect hours, lost on island tip
safe inside purifying wind, collecting shells
as the dog nosed her way along the dunes,
and launching our son’s first kite.
In the doctor’s lot, I let the rain validate me,
happy to be alive in that lit-up way we get
when no bad news punches are delivered.
When the dog joins us, scratching
to be let in, we huddle in our cave
as the thunder backs its way into the night
and, one after the other, fall asleep.


© by Sebastian Matthews


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