We wake to the clink
of a flagless pole like ice
in the bottom of a glass, the clink
of the lanyard in the hands
of the wind. We walk in the cold.
The willow hangs its leafless vines,
light bulb filaments, sun
cascading over the cast iron fence.
Whose house is this?
The earth belongs to us, our descendants,
earthlings, but the house is not
our own. Below it flows the river.
Before which we balk.
The river shuffles its feet, choppy
cowboy boots, in its deep blue blouse.
I believe in you.
Even though we’re worn out now,
I believe you will always be near me.
Below us, the river carries the river,
its tune, its melody.
Stray with me. Fasten and fixate.
A wagon wheel leans against the pickets.
Investigate the flowerbed, the basketball goals
and extension ladders lying on their sides.
These summer houses are mostly empty in December,
these gascans, iceboxes,
leftover pelts of snow on unraked riverside lawns.
It’s unlikely that you will remember this,
how you stumbled among the rusty boat trailers
in the pre-dawn where I don my coveralls.
It’s unlikely you will remember me at all.
What does the water have to say? What does the light
have to say to the water? And you, would you please
just call me Daddy? I know you know some words.
It’s just us out here on the rock bank
of the Mississippi. Let me lean over.
Whisper something in my ear.
Cameron Morse is the author of Fall Risk, won Glass Lyre Press’s 2018 Best Book Award, and Father Me Again (Spartan Press). The chapbook Coming Home with Cancer is forthcoming from Blue Lyra Press.