His body, a sprinkler without triggering
recoil, painting smooth strokes, his ritual,
his pellet dance calling up whiskers
from deep muddy banks kicking up clouds
as mouths open wide and mechanic.
An act of musical baiting
(taught to him by his father)
of drawing ripples on the surface
(passed down by his father’s father)
by raining down sustenance to feed
generations of dirt bred farmers.
I wanted my handfuls
to rain down as far as his. Wished
for hands expansive and deep to match
the timbre of his downpour, the depth of his calling.
Now I am three decades into double digits
and my father’s beard has greyed to completion,
his crow’s feet have flooded into tributaries.
I watch him eye the red clay bank with mistrust
in every tender step.
He knows these fields are barren.
No sons will till this Earth.
And though I’ll return one day to feed
these fish, this memory will die with me, alone.
Cover art: “COVID Floral/Abstract 5” by Cynthia Yatchman