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Cruising Home

By Jed Myers

Poem

I’m lying right on the bed beside him.
He keeps catching his breath
from the trek up out of the kitchen.

We’re talking memory drifts—
time that rented Sunfish
capsized in the river, summer

evenings playing catch before dinner,
the night his father died….
This winter day, bright

outside, from here behind
the white curtains no one opens—
a soft haze of the lost

possibilities. He couldn’t say
if it’s October or March—it’s neither.
But this his last February is

itself a river of what
we, together, happen
to remember. He clears his throat,

windpipe boggy already
since he’s reclined—he tells me,
in that gravelly stutter,

his feelings have gotten too strong.
Oh, he knows they’ve been there,
inside his chest all along,

since he was the young man he was,
cruising home from work in the Buick,
becoming and becoming my father—

now it’s harder. Up through the neck
and against his face from behind,
pressing out through the eyes, contorting

his lips—he gurgles, sputters,
I haven’t done enough for you yet.
And fueled by a few gasps,

just as when they lowered his father,
he can’t help it, he cries.
Then it’s over. He continues to forget.

 

from Watching the Perseids (Sacramento Poetry Center Press, 2014)

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JED MYERS is a Philadelphian living in Seattle, where he is a psychiatrist with a therapy practice and teaches at the University of Washington. His poetry collections include Watching the Perseids (Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award), the chapbook The Nameless (Finishing Line Press), and the limited-edition handmade chapbook Between Dream and Flesh (forthcoming, Egress Studio Press). Among honors received are Southern Indiana Review’s Editors’ Award, the Literal Latte Poetry Award, New Southerner’s James Baker Hall Memorial Prize, Blue Lyra Review’s Longish Poem Award, the Prime Number Magazine Award for Poetry, The Southeast Review’s Gearhart Poetry Prize, The Adirondack Review’s 46er Prize for Poetry, and, in the UK, the McLellan Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, Rattle, Prairie Schooner, Nimrod, The Greensboro Review, Crab Orchard Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Crab Creek Review, Briar Cliff Review, The National Poetry Review, The Journal of the American Medical Association, Rise Up Review, DIAGRAM, Canary, Solstice, Magma, the anthology Two Countries: US Daughters & Sons of Immigrant Parents (Red Hen Press), and elsewhere. Jed has for many years played a part in the open-mic community in Seattle, now helping to maintain the consortium Seattle Easy Speak. He is Poetry Editor for the journal Bracken.

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