white is swallowed by the air of the day
Father walks the hallway, shorter than me
for the first time,
twisting his torso
to speak like an old friend to each door, each
an explanation I have starved out.
The balm of the room softens when he enters,
the lantern’s nickel of flame
behind his acrid breath.
I’ve been straining to hear
as Oakland Bay lowers its sheet onto the mudflats.
I will learn to hold dying like that breath.
Hoarfrost thaws in the driveway.
I dream the horses have returned from downstream.
Mistress (2): Teeter-Totter