When it comes, my father’s presence
is behind the weight of a country
I’ve lost, like I’ve lost him, on his way out
over the hill, flooring his decrepit wagon,
exhaust pipe exhausted, which brings
me to bed, to the sleep of a sunken log
at the river’s bottom, and my father is in it,
like some huge bear wavering through
the thickest depths, all the while, I keep
my eye on the light shimmering the surface,
wanting to come up for air, but I don’t
want to forsake this absent god
tired in the pale grass. He’s been leaving for so long
it almost seems natural, his aimless driving,
his aimless thinking. Outside, a helicopter
that may or may not allow me to continue
keeps announcing its presence,
clambering out of the rain clouds.
It’s so frustrating, knowing all I have to do
is turn off the light to occupy the dark.

Copyright © 2018 William Archila. This poem originally appeared in Tin House, Winter 2018. Used with permission of the author.