She isn’t beautiful. Her face
is the color of a walnut and her eyes
were dark tribunals weighing
the fact of me. Pinched.
But there was something-she was
the Sunday school teacher you loved
as a boy because you had never seen
someone beautiful. I remembered:
it is Sunday. I do not need your help
me Lord. I do not need your look up.
I have these hands and this need
and the light coming in the windows
intensifies as if the day has decided
to become today. “Don’t get up-
I am going to help myself to some water.”
The light swells low as if to watch.
The last time I saw my father
he was cleaning a deer. He was a master
at bonework. He was hurrying
to salt the shanks away before the heat
got to them. I decided to sock the speech.
The bag on my back said it for me.
He shook out the gristle bucket for the dogs.
Then he yanked out the two sticks
holding the animal’s chest open
and let the body collapse in the grass.
October’s dinners. Going in
for one more crack at a back leg,
I watch the flies walk my father’s neck
as he cussed the sun. I turned away
toward the road, the click and lisp
of his skilled knife in my ears.