By the time next Monday rolls around, Father's Day will have come and gone, so I thought I'd share a father inspired poem written by Carolyn Howard-Johnson and published in our co-authored book Imagining the Future: Ruminations on Fathers and Other Masculine Apparitions. Carolyn's work is always evocative, but this one has a particular resonance for me, charged with nostalgia, historical import and the science of sound, all filtered through a child's perspective.
Deciphering Earliest Remembered Sound
All the sound in the world sucked
to a wavering, wailing note
I perch on my father’s knee,
afraid, look through our window
Utah’s lights snuff, quickly, quickly,
silver sequins turn dark
until the skyline disappears
against deep velvet. There,
among our overstuffed chairs
doilies protect fat rolled arms.
The siren whines to silence.
What could that have been?
Oh, nothing, an air raid
my mother answers
as if her words were lyrics
she wanted to forget.
Would the lights return
charged with sound that split
my father’s hand from mine.
Father wears a cunt cap, grosgrain ribbons
across his heart; smells of gabardine
and good-byes. His eyelids twitch
Mother, once again, says
Oh, probably nothing at all.