Academic journal article Field

As He Goes

Academic journal article Field

As He Goes

Article excerpt

he came to visit, flew

into Kalamazoo and asked me for his car

you left it in Virginia, Dad

ports overlay

like he used to tell us about when

he was in Bin Hoa flying through fog,

his helicopter, upside down

the instrument panels rightside up

A

we take a walk

troops are down that hill, brigades up this walkway

I'm making all this up, Dad

I don't know, you walk calmly next to me

a hitch in your balance

sun butterflies the branches

maps burn in the night

get the chopper off that cliff, Major

A

you've met a lady, she just walked up to your front doorstep

(not Mom, she's snapped to white)

this lady showed up to ring

A

a trip in a car purposed

the very smooth, the two of you

kept passing the same billboard

with a miles-long wink

the lady kept looking disparagingly at her packages

you'll make those chocolate chip cookies for her

Who is it that can tell me who I am

the cookies everyone likes

A

years ago soldiers in formation on the parade ground

one man keeled over soundless

a hot day, that keeling day

grass melted, sun stuck to branches

you, at attention

A

in the lady's yard blossoms squirt from bushes

kudzu tries to bend

her soldered face

she lives on a river

starlings build twig-circles on top of bluebirds' eggs

in the clutch of the river's shoulder

you can track as far as the water curves

A

when Dad's cellphone gives him trouble he throws it in the dumpster

A

call the quartermaster

even if only a quarter of him can come

all guests long to be quarterbacks

all tanks long to be quarterhorses

if ever love held loss in sway

it's where a steeple pierces a quarter-moon-

her dining table, not quartermaster furniture,

the singer's quarter-note judders wine glasses

helicopters give no quarter

A

you laugh the lady doesn't

you will put on your dress blues

I think you have married her

A

copter blades rotate the sky

confusion studies the flickering

fire us hence like foxes-

if you think we, your children stand at attention

we attend so we can help you

come back

maybe you think, as long as you can hear us breathe

we will stay alive

that you can do that for us

and you can

A

when you moved away from your old house blue herons

creaked when they flew

memory spooling out

A

every time I call her house she answers

the once or twice she lets me talk to you

you're in her basement

how do you unmarry someone from someone

when one of them doesn't remember a vow

try telling that to a social worker

try telling that to a judge

still as a look, fox on a hill

A

we walk along

Nothing will come of nothing

he says, tar-

nation

nation unmaps terrain as he

goes I say, Dad,

don't forget about

[Author Affiliation]

DANEEN WARDROP is the author of three books of poetry, The Odds of Being, Cyclorama, and Life As It. …

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