Tomorrow, My Father

Some places have no towns
these are the places you begin
you can let go of things
you can hold onto things
but this you know:
follow the blood lines.

I left at night
I was already north of Baltimore
I had a family of my own
I went with the lights of unknown cars
I never met my father
I was driving Jersey end-to-end
I never knew him
I passed the Cherry Hill tower
I was going to New York
I was going to meet him

I watched the exits coming and going
I pictured the houses hiding back there
I watched the cars getting off
I saw myself in the toll booth glass
I went with the trucks
I kept a radio tuned to the city
I followed the radio over the bridges
I landed on the ground
I came to his house
I went in

My father spoke with sun glassed eyes
              [no, you’re the bastard]
My father was water and the water falling
[no, you’re the bastard]
My father walked the world away
[no, you’re the bastard]
My father disappeared in all directions
 [no, you’re the bastard]
My father was always there
              [no, you’re the bastard] 

We sat on broken chairs. A smell
of old cats and burned cigarettes.
When daylight came he coughed.
His kitchen window barely open
his garage door firmly shut.

Some places have no towns
maybe they have rest stops
with gas stations and fast food
glowing warm under mild red lamps
in places named for Molly Pitcher,
Alexander Hamilton, Vince Lombardi
and you too Walt Whitman
appearing and disappearing
in the Doppler light of highway signs
welcoming all and providing
a provisional family for drivers at night.

The road makes everything possible
I am southbound now
driving through a light shower with
my windshield catching beads
each one bearing the immeasurable
weight of rain.

No comments:

Post a Comment