winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry
Telling My Father
I found him on the porch that morning,
sipping cold coffee, watching a crow
dip down from the power line into the pile
of black bags stuffed in the dumpster
where he pecked and snagged a can tab,
then carried it off, clamped in his beak
like the key to a room only he knew about.
My father turned to me then, taking in
the reek of my smoke, traces of last night’s
eyeliner I decided not to wipe off this time.
Out late was all he said. And then smiled,
rubbing the small of my back through the robe
for a while, before heading inside, letting
the storm door click shut behind him.
Later, when I stepped into the kitchen,
I saw it waiting there on the table—a glass
of orange juice he had poured for me and left
sweating in a patch of sunlight so bright
I couldn’t touch it at first.
© James Crews, Originally appeared in The New Republic