A Call From My Father’s Doctor

I’m repeating back her quiet
pronouncement, “You won’t have
your father much longer.” And I stall,

like a crashed program, my mouth
full of bitterness like a rag. Who
do I think I am? Probably she

has a father too. Like anyone.
But it hits me abruptly, this fait
discourse I’ve never heard,

now in my own voice. This
abruptness. This little micro-change
that’s devastating. And he’ll need

to be spoken with as if nothing’s
amiss. And that’s true too. Here
he is, a man with a cloudy fate

shaped very like a camel, or a whale,
crossing the seas or deserts. Did you
ever notice the sudden gray light

when a cloud moves overhead?
It’s quiet, no screaming whistle,
or screech of tires. Just sudden.

Alan Feldman’s latest collection is Immortality, published last March by University of Wisconsin Press. He has poems in the current issue of The Southern Review and forthcoming in Valparaiso Poetry Review, The Antigonish Review, Ascent, and Outlook Springs. He offers free weekly poetry workshops in Framingham, MA, and, in the summer, in Wellfleet on Cape Cod.

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