KR OnlinePoetry

Dear Father (with Fever); Prayer (with Percocet)

Dear Father (with Fever)

To you I have nothing
to say, you who are not here.

Feverish on this gray couch
in a gray year in a gray world.

The viral load of Earth multiplying,
the viral load of melancholia.

Big droplets and small, aerosols.
The children harbor, fester, super
spreaders, and yet, their sweet milk scent.

I see your face in my children’s faces
and cannot escape the loss of you

cycling, repeating each morning,
mourning, morning like a giant
bell in my brain.

Grief in the time of plague.
Love in the time of same.

You are a giant bell that beats
my brain each morning,
mourning, morning.

I cannot escape your face that ghosts
my children’s faces.

Their sweet, milk-scented heads
harbor and fester. Super
spreaders, big and small.

Melancholia multiplies like a viral load
in this gray world

in this gray year on a gray couch
where I fever and cough fear.

You are not here, I say to you nothing
you can hear.


Prayer (with Percocet)

Lost in a cemetery again, a maze
             of losses: section C, row 6, plot 18

Red roses, rows of endings,
             and the scent of oranges

At the center, I am surrounded by stone,
             leave a pebble behind

Didn’t I hope a pill would keep
             my father’s heart alive forever?

Didn’t I hope a pill would take
             care of it?

The gods of science were wrong—ghosts
             floating off in their white coats

What can you do for me, ghost-
             colored pill asleep in my pocket?

Miniature moon who could crush me,
             who is almost good

In the morning, I check the label
             and see my own face in flames

One pill and I can watch my pain
             from across the room

I slowly slide my breath between
             the knives in my neck

My sunrise of painkillers