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The Night Before My Father Buries His Father

 

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

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Stephanie Brooks

Stephanie Brooks is a 2017 graduate of Georgia State University with a BA in Creative Writing and a minor in Music. Her works have been published in Noble Gas Quarterly, Underground, Every Pigeon, Riggwelter and Splash! from Haunted Waters Press. She currently lives in Atlanta where she surrounds herself with books, guitars, and tarot decks.

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