THE MONDAY YOUR FATHER DIED
There is nothing left of that morning
except the naked rage of phones ringing,
your mother's stumbling words.
Come evening you couldn't help but look
for him in the dim unmade calamity of the bedroom,
creaking softly down the hallway, on the cold back
porch where a half-empty Coke can flashed in the leaving
light. Everything the same but his empty chair and place
at the table and the crowded silence that evening without his music
(no guitar-weeping lullaby) booming through the walls,
climbing your spine as you bent heavy over homework
with a dull pencil, math a sudden foreign language
untranslatable on the page while your brothers tried
in the orange light of the livingroom to play without
disturbing the throbbing distance between them
and your mother locked behind her bedroom door.
He'd been found on the floor. And your sister
who was nine dressed her dolls in mourning clothes,
colored a white gown black with magic marker
and made sure her doll sobbed quietly
until it was time to wrestle into a pair of thin
pajamas and tuck herself in and in compliance
with this fresh bludgeoning you, the oldest brother,
took yourself like a child by the hand and lead
your new ghost down the hallway to say goodnight
to your sister who was biting her lip not to cry
in the dark and patiently then you put your small brothers
to bed in their crumpled day clothes, told them everything would be okay.
Down the long hall your mother's door was a shield drawn
and from that you turned away. To this day.