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.