My father, in my kitchen last night
was standing by the spice rack, thirty years
younger with a red coffee mug and his tie
unknotted. “Why aren't you in the hospital?”
I asked and he answered,
Out the window where the desert should
have been the sky was violet and the sea
impossibly close. Tugboats, swimmers
and right whales all making
for the shore.
I carry my ghosts as a point of pride,
all their bright mannerisms woven over
the clean white linen of a normal day.
I can talk to them separately as if to gossip
about each finished life, or just turn my face
upwards to ask, “where the hell are you?”
I imagine us all together as if we arranged
a potluck of spirits in shirtwaists and emerald
jackets, rushing around my kitchen, our children
and familiars playing tag on the grass.
Today you didn't know me when I called.
Yesterday you didn't know me, but I pretended
that you did. Tomorrow I will call and the nurse
will say, "Bill, it's your daughter" and hand you
a phone you don't know how to use anymore
and it will make you mad. You told your nurse
I was your other daughter. I tell her you only
have one, but imagine you in a house with tall
windows, a chair that tilts back, your parrots
on either shoulder and all the daughters
you remember in me perfectly reassembled
like the film of a broken vase played backwards.
Sara Clancy a Philadelphia transplant to the Desert Southwest. Her chapbook Ghost Logic won the 2017 Turtle Island Quarterly Editors Choice Award and she is an Associate Editor for Poetry at Good Works Review. Among other places, her poems have appeared in Off the Coast, The Linnet's Wings, Crab Creek Review, The Madison Review, and Verse Wisconsin. She lives in Arizona with her husband and daughter, their two dogs a cross-eyed cat and a 23 year old goldfish named Darryl.