Poem in Which My Father Tells Me the Forecast
The snow can’t decide whether to go to bed
with its socks on or off. My father calls & this time
he’s not a deck full of whale-watchers crying. This time
he’s like a question someone asks after turning down
the radio in a parking lot, empty except for two crows.
A lot like the question I’ve been asking myself lately:
at what age did I begin taking instructions from the sky?
& what about the three brothers I watched fish
for sunnies in the park until the oldest grew bored
& asked me to find a piece of driftwood, laid it down
over the stillest & jumped? Is he still speaking
to his father when it snows? Telling him like I’m
telling my father now, I can’t stop thinking about the word
colonel & why it’s hiding all those r’s behind all that denim.
What I’m trying to say is this: I'm proud of my father
for never owning a gun. For rubbing coffee grounds
under his arms & coke around his gums & failing the draft.
For flying me to Wyoming one summer because he wanted
to see wild horses, because he wanted to talk with me
over runny eggs & diner coffee about wild horses.
When he asked over the phone while I packed boxes
in Delaware if I wanted to hurt myself & his voice
was a small child in a blue coat collecting leaves.
Back then they didn’t have a name for it is something I can
hear my father saying. As in: I want to talk to you
about what’s tender but only for so long. His voice
like barnlight when he asks, Did you bury the fish?
I lie. I change the subject. Ask him to tell me again
about the two birds he’s been seeing his entire life.
TYLER KLINE is a writer and teacher living in Pennsylvania. His work has appeared in Best New Poets, The Nashville Review, and Passages North.