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Poem: Words Risen from My Father’s House, Built 1742

By: Tom Sheehan


Bones bang in the house,
clutter of vellum lives;
knobs of father’s eyes,
like tender calf’s,

burst once under strain
of thick dosage that
needled in his thigh,
the coolest wedge

of calamities,
strong sugar epithet,
fractional raid on sucrose.
God, how the blind supplicate.

Stairs yet wear his trod,
deep impress of heft,
midnight carry to bed
after birthday gift.

4 A.M. soft shoe,
creaking banister,
as he pried open day
before sun’s luster.

His hammer peals in stone,
talks in lintel and joist,
good carpenter sign
where house holds fast

and concerts each echo—
shaving song loud as bells,
hammock of laughter I
hear swinging up the halls,

the roars, admonishing,
voice range extra broad,
soft or harsh as tongs.
We never lied,

never stared into eye
or dared talk back,
sat quiescently
before that rock.

I divide time owned –
before and after laughter,
before he went blind
and all after.


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