Papa thinks he's sober
slouched over his eggs
like runny yolks and
grease oozing the edge of his plate.
But he drags that barroom
with him all the time
like a friend who never leaves
no matter that kin comes begging
for a night home,
home we don't bother filling
with more than his picture
framed with his pride dangling
from a fish hook
reeled out of Salt Creek.
I know better than to speak,
that his words will stagger across the table
and his excuses stumble along
trying to catch up
before they topple over the edge
like a glass of beer
that should never have been poured.
I let silence grow as cold as his coffee
that fills the stained cracks of porcelain
spidering the cup
he clutches like a dead ember,
is a prayer answered for the asking.
I recall the day
like pieces of a photograph
strewn across wind;
motes of memory swirling
like dead leaves-
the scent of death suspended like a haunting,
the hired condolences of a stranger
no one will remember,
the mingling of too many perfumes
that fail to mask sorrow,
how a casket gleams like a dead star,
the sound of rain on raw earth.
About Sheri L. Wright:Sheri L. Wright is the author of five books of poetry, including the most recent, The Slow Talk of Stones. Her works of poetry appear numerous journals, including New Southerner, Out of Line, Chiron Review, Clark Street Review, Darkling and Earth's Daughters. Ms. Wright is the host of the literary radio show, From The Inkwell, at www.crescebthillradio.com.