Visitation; I Buried My Father; Student Poems
Bridget, my German Shepherd,
appeared to me before she transformed
from metered rhyme to free verse.
Her knowing brown eyes
once told me I was pregnant
months before I knew.
I had to leave her on a horse farm
twenty-six hundred miles behind
after a decade together, together, together.
Years later, driving east from home,
I saw her in the sky – Bridget –
clear as a crescent moon.
She had come to watch over me,
to say goodbye one more time before she
floated deeper into that unspoiled sky.
I Buried My Father
~ after Li-Young Lee
I buried my father in Ohio snow.
Since then, the sun rises to warm
his shoulders. At night,
stars can tell
he’s the life of the party,
so they try to imitate
the Kentucky beauty
of his eyes.
I buried my father beneath.
Since then, he thrums
in my blood, in my lungs,
in all the gifts I can
hold in my arms,
in the grip and flourish
of my hands.
I buried my father in the piano –
the one he bought
with his life.
Now the keys press down
to the rhythm of his breath.
Every hammer is
attached to his heart –
all the accidentals black
as his wild raven hair.
Some are Victorian ghosts sipping tea with their pinkies raised,
overly fond of old words –
Some are fundamentalists inclined toward
strict syllable counts,
marching band rhythms.
Most, though, are fledglings who haven’t noticed
they have wings, but they lean,
they lean east,
into the next lift of wind.
Colette Tennant is an English Professor in Salem, Oregon. She has two books of poetry, and has had poems published in various journals including Prairie Schooner, Rattle, and Southern Poetry Review. Her most recent book, Religion in The Handmaid's Tale: a Brief Guide will be published this September to coincide with Atwood releasing the sequel to the novel.