No, It’s Mine: The 13th Stanza

Syllables smash against
the whitewashed concrete floor below.

Now all I can hear is the sound
of someone else’s ocean

in a conch shell I find buried
beneath a cedar shingle shack,

destroyed by fire. It is no accident.
The day my father dies,

I do not recognize my own name.

Letters taste foreign
as rusted hinges

and shallow pools
of savory brine.

Advent of Another December

Tomorrow our month begins
without you, Dad,
to cheer us on,

without the lights
that open windows
to a calendar—the one

that takes me back
to a scene in New Hope, PA,
where you treated us

to a day by ourselves
with you about to be 39,
me about to be 13

(exactly a third your age,
the way we like our math),

and you bought me that teal silk
(never wool for you or me)
sweater, and I felt so grown up,

and you were weeks away
from your jumping off place,
me from my first kiss.