The Father by Johnna St. Cyr

In that wood they built their house. You can’t see the ocean
but you can smell the tide. He remembers birch sap under his nails,
and April’s light. Foundation, beams, paint.
Maybe he wanted to be a painter once. Maybe he danced.
Surely he stood in front of the mirror practicing
his songs. This is how it goes. You will hate the house,
the wood, the chip on the dresser, all tulips in the dark.
You will hate blue trucks, bicycles, and the news.
You will hate Tuesdays and April. You will hate
even the wind. It was windy the day they found
the boy’s body, not the day he died. When you count
your children you will always count all your children.
The father counts now— toes, fingers, teeth.
Four geese fly overhead against a blue sky.
Visual art by Bredt Bredthauer