For my father
You keep him alive with longing and regret,
memory a patient spider lashing someone
once living to that yesterday when his story stopped
and you became one of those spirits divorced
from morning sun, riding an iceberg
calved from the land, looking shoreward at dusk.
But all the metaphors are pretty, though sad,
and all the cells of your aching body feel only sad,
not pretty, and you are a wobbling top
running down, axis more and more uncertain,
someone cast out in a foreign land
unable to say even Help me, I’m standing
on sand in the face of a rising tide, I am bereft
and alone, however you might say that
in your unfamiliar tongue, I am too tired to weep,
too late to save anyone, a sack of skin and bones
a-rattle, no one on earth to point me home, no home
in what is known, the rest past words, unknown.
Will Walker lives in San Francisco. He is a former editor of the Haight Ashbury Literary Journal. His book of poems, Wednesday after Lunch, is available on Amazon.