Between the Leaves and Fence
One grey windrow set away
from a dead tree where I buried
the lock, the rusted key
which who knows if it still fits.
Written on a paper the address
of your other son—the one
you never told anyone of.
Far away in a shit-hole Florida
town, he sits not knowing that you’re
now dead. I gather the branches
and stack them in rows, the snow
seeps into the sides of my boot.
The jacket with the broken
zipper, lets in the wind.
One photo shows you in Korea, hung-
over smiling with a blackened eye. A picture
of your mother whom I’ve met twice.
The final time she didn’t recognize me,
emaciated in the nursing home, 60 lbs.
and delirious, tears roll down your eyes.
I wonder yet I know the answer.
You never called him or went to visit,
but you sent money. I can imagine you driving
seventeen hours south on I-75, parking out-
side the tiny apartment and watching,
waiting for a glimpse before slowly
driving away. A gun-metal grey box, old
newspaper clippings I care not to read.
I can see my mother’s shadow in cigarette
smoke by the curtain. Head down, not saying
a word. I refuse to wear a hat in winter,
or gloves. I don’t care if my boots are in tatters
if my feet grow wet and my knuckles crack
open. I can concentrate hard enough and think
of some place warm, and in the darkest
coldest night will away the frost. The heat
radiates from my inside unknown like a tiny
apartment in the south, where a man sits
sentry with his eyes closed.