In My Father’s House

by David Cope

we walk thru his rooms, sit where he sat, tell stories
the wild ride back from Hana, his teenage self scaling
Long’s Peak on the front face where none now climb,
hiking beneath Tahquamenon, vision thru falling water,
the eagles trailing the boat a mile from shore
the silences are deep, hollow, empty,
sometimes we slip & speak of him in the present.

out his windows the line of browned peaks
rises against the clear sky.
the saguaros are in bloom,
acacia throw out bright petals.

the mirror casts backward thru ancestors
toiling land & turning lathes, scripture ever in their hands
Quaker faces lit with simple gifts,
always the shadow in the corner of the eye,
the evening dance turning, passing time & light,
beloved who bears one from the dark
wrapped in blankets beneath the still moon.

I am
rapt, shaken, & he
is with me, looking out thru my eyes, his hand
my hand in the garden, cutting, giving life, yet he
is not here,
a breeze in the acacia, then silence.
how swaddle myself
with blankets long vanished & recall a father’s eye
overlooking my childsleep?