Longing Still the Ruin of My Existence
I always thought he’d come back
like this, wrapped in his youth,
spook to my banshee.
The thin man, I’d once teased—
huddled like an Einstein
crouched in the basement trying
to figure things out: aeronautics,
magic tricks, why
our family made no sense.
Bred in his lab
like little white spirits
or gods called by name,
rats nibbled crumbs from his lips,
staved his hunger,
but the lure of the airplane glue
proved too fragrant to resist,
clear out of reach, and then Boom!
a hole in the paneling closer
to the boiler than one cared to think.
Our father, who art not in hell,
didn’t like that too much, the trapped
pet rats now scurrying to get out,
racing against the poison-filled smoke.
I always thought he’d come back like this,
show me a smile could be sober
without losing its bliss.
Oh, how I’ve missed you, I said,
ten years of loss melting at my feet.
The gravel granite path across
the cemetery crackles like rock candy.
What I’d give for a piece
to suck like a thumb,
weaned from the nipple.
I take off my shoes
so the stones can scar
something into submission.
I don’t mean to dissect the worm,
but I’m glad to, first-born of eight—
we craved the same nourishment.
I scrape fingernails along tree bark,
and its dust stains my skin.
She is here, reclaiming my body.
I kneel and cling to exposed roots,
can’t think which one to follow.
They reach where I can’t so I pull,
but they break into little carcasses.
With great assistance from her mentors, Kathy O‘Fallon‘s poems and short stories have been published in numerous literary journals, magazines, and anthologies, as well as three chapbooks. She is a psychologist living in Fallbrook, California, self-proclaimed avocado capital of the world. Without poetry, O’Fallon asks, how would she know her own heart?
Photo: Tomas Tuma