Before the Line is Dead

Before the Line is Dead



Dear Father,

I sit by the window and trace drops of rain, like the memories falling from my eyes. In the yard, the brittle tree bends and soon breaks. Crash. Life is over.



Dear Father,

Sometimes I sit in the mud, I feel closer to you there. Foxholes of comfort, I escape. I pile the thick muck high around me. Camouflage the world with brown.



Father,

A photo of me wearing your fishing waders sits in a snapshot beside my bed. “Stay strong, Taylor. Love always,” and you signed it with your name. Not with dad. It’s hard to make out the messy handwriting. The J is apparent, but the OE just look like scribbles on the page. Like a heart beat monitor. Just before the line is dead.



Father,

Mama’s heart beat is steady, calming, loud. Thump Thump. I feel my own. My chest quakes with destruction which dares to determine my day.



Dear Father,

I found an old box that smells sweet. Mama said you like the cigars that taste like honey. In the box is a letter you wrote to her. Was I the unexpected baby? Are you glad you kept me now?



Father,

The tin roof is attacked by hail. It sounds like bombs from heaven. A thousand arrows to shatter the sky.  



Dear Father,

I don’t know where you are. Mama said we aren’t allowed to know. I don’t like secrets. I’m worried you’ll fall out of this world forever. Where are you?



Father,

The grandfather clock tick ticks in the hall, pushing every minute of my life forward. Wait, I plead. The clock doesn’t care; it moves on.




Father,

The world got drafted and abandoned what it knew. War paint streaks every corner, blinding even our closest friends. Are you blind?

Father,

The Times Call still lays on the kitchen table. Mama started weeping. Father? Where are you? Are you part of the one hundred and three deceased? Why do you not answer me?



Dear Father,

Do you read my letters? Does the airmail reach you in the jaws of war? Do you sit in the tents at night and read by candlelight?



Father,

Do you think of Mama and I in the busy hours of the day, in the silent hours at night? Do you see Orian as he arches his bow across the November sky? He is shooting stars across the universe. Like me, he is only trying to find you.



Father,

I sent you my class picture. Mama made me wear my best that day, for you. A black cotton skirt and the baby blue shirt I got last year for Christmas. Did you see me? Mama said I’ve grown; three inches according to the mark on my bedroom door Mama made when you left.  



Do you miss me?



Father!

Why do you not answer me? Where have you gone? You left Mama! You left me.



Father!

You fight for them, but would you fight for me?

Do you hear me!

Do you care? Will you continue to push on, and not wait, like the grandfather clock in the hall?



Tick tick.



Time is up.


The line is dead.
 

This poem is about: 
My family
Our world
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 

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