I peeled your body from the floor. Stained floor.
The same floor, in the same room where we made
you read us C.S. Lewis.
So clueless, then. To think, we thought we had so
much more time. Your time. A Wrinkle in Time.
The wrinkled pages pressing flowers flat, just like that.
Now, I peel roses from pages. Stained pages.
Pages smeared red, just like the bathroom tiles.
I can’t remember why we read there.
There, on the bathroom floor. I remember
all of us kids, asking you to read us more.
More E.B. White, and Junie B. Jones.
Dad, be still. I stroked your arms, and your skin
peeled like wallpaper.
I feel. I am. Stained.
After A. Van Jordan’s “af·ter·glow”
ra·di·a·tion fog \≈\ n. 1. The nocturnal mist that suspends over the Wisconsin alfalfa fields before sunrise: as in the appearance of white opal haze. 2. The vapor produced when the cool night air diminishes the warmth of the earth, as of the land or a loved one lost, and sometimes regarded as a type of arcane ghost: This cloak, this veil.
This change from hot to cold,
This condensation of love, droplets left behind on my windowpane,
This September morning, this September night,
This deep valley of my heart,
This opaque envelope for my mind,
This stillness from your body
This house freezing, this driveway frozen
Where you taught us all we know,
Where we waited for the bus and, before 7:20 AM, rode away
And I smiled, mouth wide open,
At this field’s radiant secret.