by Molly M. Caldwell

The skin on my father’s calves
hangs like a translucent bag
full of tiny purple lightning bolts
little blue streams, climbing
towards his knees.
Thicksoled sneakers
bare his smooth ankles,
ankles I know better
tied in leather boots.
There is no toolbox
in the bed of his truck
or handkerchief folded into the pocket
of his jeans, saving his sweat
and snot for the week, or two.
At dinner he reads a eulogy
he wrote for Jim,
swallowing lumps
like cold mashed potatoes that rise
from the pit of his stomach
up into his throat. I am mourning
the way he used to look
in a tank top wiry hairs, reaching out
from his sunburnt chest to say: Hello,
we are a man! in an Italian accent.
His whole face is as though it has been pressed
with a rolledout pie crust,
I want to peel the dough
delicately back from his hairline
and iron the creases on his forehead
with my thumb.