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About this Poem 

"I don't usually remember my dreams. But after a poet-friend wrote to tell me of her father's death, my own dead father appeared to me in a strangely sweet tableau. I don't know if an elegy can properly be a gesture of friendship, but in the same way her news triggered my father's brief return, the poem responds to the gift of her poems with a gift of poetry."
—Brian Teare

Separation is the necessary condition for light.

Brian Teare

so it came to me to 
carry the abandoned 
mattress to the attic      

                         a month dead my father
		         waited hillside in the field 
 			 surrounding his house 

I was glad to see him
to remember when
the fathers seemed 

                          generic     related     a class
    			  of things as uniform as trees 
                          are when you don’t know
			
their names     a stand
of them across the field 
I want to say autumn

                           aspens     the late fathers 
                           blonde as early evening
 			   wind startles their eyes 
 
and makes of your name 
a sail      a boat above roots 
that rise to stem that rise 

		            to leaf his door and cornices    
                            his felt hat and mattress 
                            empty     it feels like forever
				
above the flickering field     
the fathers shrinking 
far beneath our feet



for Lisa Fishman

Copyright © 2013 by Brian Teare. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on October 22, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Brian Teare

Brian Teare

Born in Alabama in 1974, Brian Teare is the author of The Room Where I Was Born, which was awarded both the Brittingham Prize and the 2004 Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry

by this poet

poem
Nothing at dusk, lord, but dust 

                              and road to keep it. The field kneels 

under white pines, umbra the edge 

                              to whom this is addressed : 

a mind part fern, part birch : 

                              two turkeys slowly S-ing their necks 

through
poem

"As his unlikeness fitted mine"—

so his luciferous kiss, ecliptic : me pinned beneath lips bitten as under weight of prayer, Ave—but no common vocative, no paradise above, and we not beholden to a name, not to a local god banking fever blaze his seasonal malady of flowers—

poem

thought begins as small floral bowls  :  they hold greens—broccoli stalks,


                                                       chopped kale—against Chinese blue


                                                       very dark, with a greenish tint :




the way a