19 March 2007


Nick Flynn

Father Outside

A black river flows down the center

of each page

& on either side the banks

are wrapped in snow. My father is ink falling

in tiny blossoms, a bottle

wrapped in a paperbag. I want to believe

that if I get the story right

we will rise, newly formed,

that I will stand over him again

as he sleeps outside under the church halogen

only this time I will know

what to say. It is night &

it's snowing & starlings

fill the trees above us, so many it seems

the leaves sing. I can't see them

until they rise together at some hidden signal

& hold the shape of the tree for a moment

before scattering. I wait for his breath

to lift his blanket

so I know he's alive, letting the story settle

into the shape of this city. Three girls in the park

begin to sing something holy, a song

with a lost room inside it

as their prayerbook comes unglued

& scatters. I'll bend

each finger back, until the bottle

falls, until the bone snaps, save him

by destroying his hands. With the thaw

the river will rise & he will be forced

to higher ground. No one

will have to tell him. From my roof I can see

the East River, it looks blackened with oil

but it's only the light. Even now

my father is asleep somewhere. If I followed

the river north I could still reach him.

Copyright © Nick Flynn

1 comment:

Carrie said...

Hi! I found you! Get writing babe and fill up that space.