301 Moved Permanently

301 Moved Permanently


Walking in Snow

After Robert Kroetsch’s “Sounding the Name”


In this poem my father is not drunk.
He does not phone me this December night
and beg me to invite him for Christmas.
I don’t pause beside the sliding glass door

with phone in hand and watch the snowflakes sink,
and hope to get snowed in just once to be safe.
He does not tell me I must accept him
passing out on my couch before dinner

in front of my young children, scaring them;
he does not call me narrow-minded
and I don’t have to say I don’t want
another generation harmed.

I do not hang up on him,
don’t wheel the baby stroller up the hill,
don’t stare at flakes of snow under streetlight
cones of light like galaxies plunging.

I do not wish he were dead.

In this poem my father is not drunk.
He’s sitting on the couch, reading aloud
a picture book to his grandchildren.

I’m mashing potatoes in the kitchen.
My father shows me how he stirs gravy.
I overcook the turkey just a little.

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