Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Oil & Steel

My father lived in a dirty dish mausoleum,
watching a portable black-and-white television,
reading the Encyclopedia Britannica,
which he preferred to Modern Fiction.
One by one, his schnauzers died of liver disease,
except the one that guarded his corpse
found holding a tumbler of Bushmills.
"Dead is dead," he would say, an anti-preacher.
I took a plaid shirt from the bedroom closet
and some motor oil—my inheritance.
Once, I saw him weep in a courtroom—
neglected, needing nursing—this man who never showed
me much affection but gave me a knack
for solitude, which has been mostly useful.

Credit


Reprinted from Blackbird and Wolf © 2007 by Henri Cole, by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Learn more about FSG poets at fsgpoetry.com.

Author


Henri Cole

Henri Cole was born in Fukuoka, Japan, in 1956 and raised in

Date Published: 2007-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/oil-steel