The days unfold like maps. Fresh dirt in the garden, black as cake, grows warm. The roses perform a silent recital, each playing its part from memory. I wait for my father the way men wait for a train. I wait for my father the way a dancer waits for music. My mother is a curtain in the window. She calls me in to fit my shadow for a suit. I keep still as she pinches the tape around its wrist. Around her neck my mother’s pearls clink like teeth. Your shadow grows faster than you do, she says. She says that waiting is a kind of dancing. At night I dance with the stillness. My blood waits behind my chest like a man behind a locked door. My father waits in another country.
Copyright © 2014 by Ryan Teitman. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on January 9, 2014.