Ice Floe

I’d like to know you Dad before you go, before you take that last boat past the horizon. You are marooned there on the ice floe that took off from the broken shelf that can never rejoin the mainland, the sea birds circling curious, the fish swimming the frozen currents below. I imagine navigating the difficult geography, swimming the icy waters to you. What could we say to undo the knotted years that are lost in the rings of trees? Perhaps you could speak of your childhood with your father and the mother who left you, little boy in your coat kicking cans in Carlton. What was it like with that old ironfist we grandkids thought so tender, no mother to pull back the sheets of your bed for you each night? You would have felt the timbers contracting around you as you lay there listening to the sounds of her absence. Where did you go then that wasn’t over the palings out into the street, along Pigdon to the park? Was there a secret door you opened and pulled firmly shut behind you to emerge on the shelf with its fault line hidden beneath the snowdrifts, the light growing hard on the water? I cannot swim the road that leads to the distant shore that gives onto the vast body of water you float in. Time has made a monkey of me holding nuts I don’t dare let go of and I cannot read your semaphore. The symbols on your flags are faded and the blinding white icy light swallows everything.

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2 thoughts on “Ice Floe

  1. Exquisite as always.
    I have a huge body of material about my time as a full time dad. Occasionally I try to work out how to cram it into novel form – but it really doesn’t have the right shape. Every time you post another prose poem it makes me think that prose poetry has the perfect shape; each moment is encapsulated – yet part of a whole.

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