You lie on the made bed.
Dust glitters, suspended
in the room's patient air.
Your body is not dust, not yet.
It's a submerged canoe,
like your father's was—
24 years at Boeing,
years that got him nothing
but a bad back, discs
worn down to chalk,
a clunker Oldsmobile
gray as pavement.
All those fall afternoons
he'd disappear,
nap till dinner, late sunlight
draining from the bedroom,
his head pressed between
pillows to muffle the static
of quarrels, TV, slammed
cupboards, the rasp of traffic
on Aurora Avenue,
and a boy's cracked laughter.

It's your turn now
to nap away an afternoon.
Outside, your sons cackle,
happy as chimps.
Their rusty swings
wail the song of a man
who dreams he's sinking,
the man your mother warned you
not to disturb, the man,
drifting through filtered light,
wakes to find that dinner
is over, the kingdom of dust
rising before him.

Ed Harkness | Mudlark No. 13
Contents | The Worlds I Know