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


Parkinson’s Disease: Autumn

When I woke for school the next day the sky was uniform & less than infinite

with the confusion of autumn & my father

as he became distant with disease the way a boy falls beneath the ice,
before the men that cannot save him—

the cold like a forever on his lips.

Soon, he was never up before us & we’d jump on the bed,
wake up, wake up,

& my sister’s hair was still in curls then, & my favorite photograph still hung:
my father’s back to us, leading a bicycle uphill.

At the top, the roads vanish & turn—

the leaves leant yellow in a frozen sprint of light, & there, the forward motion.

The nights I laid in the crutch of my parents’ doorway & dreamt awake,
listened like a field of snow,

I heard no answer. Then sleepless slept in my own arms beneath the window
to the teacher’s blank & lull—

Mrs. Belmont’s lesson on Eden that year. Autumn: dusk:

my bicycle beside me in the withered & yet-to-be leaves,

& my eyes closed fast beneath the mystery of migration, the flock’s rippled wake:

Credit


Copyright © 2018 by Andrés Cerpa. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 7, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem


“My father was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease in 2001. He was forty-five years old, and I was eleven. This poem lives in the mysteries between diagnosis and a degenerative future.”
—Andrés Cerpa

Author


Andrés Cerpa

Andrés Cerpa is the author of The Vault ( Alice James Books, 2021).

Date Published: 2018-09-07

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/parkinsons-disease-autumn