Thirty-One Years Ago Today
Caroline Kanner

my father and mother married.
I call her, invite the stories:
the backyard trees decorated with figs, 
the flower girls fighting, the cake 
an architect’s cake, all plane and form, 
a building with no windows 
that goes inside people, 
instead of the other way around. 
                                                           Imagine now 
a room with no windows or doors. 
How does it make you feel?
In the game my friend introduced at the bar, 
your reaction betrays your orientation 
towards death. The room I pictured
was empty, besides a desk.
                                                  In my father’s,
there’s surely a desk. And drafting paper, 
I hope, and blue tape, and pencils, 
bunched by color with rubber bands.
So he can put windows onto the blank walls, 
draw our faces like he always could, from memory, 
and the cats. Twin palms he planted 
rising through the window square. 
                                                              I can see him
pushing the desk to the center of the room 
and climbing on top, to draw a skylight 
on the flat ceiling, 
like the one we put over my bed, to see the stars
which he knew everything about, 
through which the sun woke me up 
furious every teenage weekend,
furious and never wholly ungrateful.

Caroline Kanner is a teacher in California. Her poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming, in DIALOGIST, Peripheries, NECK, and the math textbook Fractal Worlds: Grown, Built, and Imagined.


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