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After Tom Andrews

Pen-sketch trees.
At the curb, tattered collar of snow.

What did my father think in those chilly
early-morning diner kitchens as he unloaded the blue
plastic flats of plastic-bagged loaves?

This was 1978, January, a synchronicity
of blackbirds releasing from the First
Methodist bell tower. His name

a gold-stitched corsage on his uniform pocket
not yet my name, and me
an idea, a rustling

in the belly, restless
percussion of heels. Was it, Come into

this life I’ve created, am keeping
for you? Let me feed and be
fed by you? Maybe

he couldn’t understand, as I don’t now
understand these certain seasons

of cold, when the world wants nothing
but a warm palm, a place
to land like a snowflake
and disappear.

The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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