My dad was a poet who didn’t write poems.
When he was serious, he had to make sense,
which is understandable if you know that nonsense
can be a painful place to be from, and he
was from there. Once my heart burst
me out of sleep and urged me run across
the river (or swim — I did that, too) and knock
on a girl’s door. I had nothing but my desire—
no words, not even breath — so I kissed her
and she kissed me back, and the rest makes little sense
as well. Now I’m alone by a fire, drunk with the blood
that made me, dancing under the same stars
that made and turned millions, now all dead.
It’s just a way to keep from feeling alone.
I can hear my dad if I told him. Easily
amused but kind, he took my ambitions
seriously. In his last years his boyhood loneliness
returned, and he sat looking at things he couldn’t
understand, pictures, rings, pages of writing,
my mother. Good luck, he’d say, with all that.