Fall 2009 / Issues / Poetry 2009 / Volume 40

My Father’s Voice — William O. Burns

My father’s voice sounds

Like a car without a muffler.

He is reading me poems,

Poems about me.

I think about when I was ten years old,

When at 11:00 one night,

I stood at the edge of our diving board,

Waiting for him to request a dive,

The air was chilly,

And the board was clammy

From the night’s rain.

My father lifted his balled fists

And rolled them together

Above his head,

Signalling that I should do a back flip.

Bob and Betty,

Our backyard bats

Never touched water.

They swooped

In their own echo.

Oak pollen drooped from telephone wire,

Hiding a cocoon.

A cocoon is a sack full of question marks,

I thought as my father’s voice urged

Me to jump.

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