by Matthew Hotham
John, your father has a glass eye—
when it rolls on the floor you clean it.
Some days he forgets English, rambles
about his dead brothers in French.
There are medical bills and he bites
the nurses who bring his lunch—
in October, they will ask him to leave.
You look at me with pity
when we compare fathers,
but John, my burden in light.
There is a tree an hour north
and my father is under it.
I carry him like a prayer in my throat—
he is mostly air and memory.
When I knew he wouldn't come back,
I withheld memory—
turned my father into breath.
— from Meridian:24 pp 64