The door slams. He is home.
My mother scurries to
Get his dinner on the table
After eight hours at her own job.
We are quiet, chew without taste or sound
Lest we disturb his tenuous weather.
He refills his drink again, Thunderbird or Ripple.
Night after night, we gauge the barometer, readying for the blow.
When my father died at 42 of cirrhosis I was glad
To be rid of him.
Forty years later, I still feel his landfall,
Yet now it is tempered with a realization –
My father, no matter who he was,
(never forgiving my mother’s black eyes or brother’s bruises) –
Brought his paycheck home to us
At the end of every week.
Previously published with the Public Poetry Series 2014