When My Father Died
My father died on Groundhog Day
too early in the morning
for the rodent to appear
but his shadow casts all around us.
Saturn and Mercury retrograde
both nearly ready to go direct
but Dad couldn't wait, all that week he'd gasped out the tune
"Off we go into the wild blue yonder."
He wanted to be a fly-boy again.
All around me machines
speech fails to carry intention
my clocks stutter
backward and forward,
and I must learn to keep the time without them.
Saturn, who ate his children,
Lord of Death
as cold as ever you were
stations high above me.
Move along now, Dad.
Barbara Ruth was a featured activist/writer at the 2014 national gathering of Old Lesbians Organizing for Change and poet-coordinator of San Diego County California Poets In the Schools. She writes memoir and essays as well as poetry and is also a photographer. She is Jewish, Potowatomee, disabled, fat, inquisitive, and still ain't satisfied.
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