My Father’s Walks

His shoes gleamed in polish, a spit-shined black,
button-down blue shirt starched stiff like sheetrock,
my father prepared ritually for his walks,
the ones he took for exercise and escape when he retired,
the ones he took daily when he worked,

legs heavy from city miles delivering letters, flyers,
and magazines from a leather satchel slung over his shoulder,
weighed down by his poor luck as much as the mail,
returning home to soak his gnarled feet in a bucket
of Epsom salt and lukewarm water,

eating supper with my mother in silence
until their nightly fights erupted, voices howling
through the rented apartment, my mother
shrieking, incomprehensibly as the possessed,
my father simply telling her in dry tones to “drop dead.”

Beyond bedtime, only ticking clocks and stunted breathing
could break the habits of night
until the next morning’s sun glowed fire-red atop
the tenements, my father walking away again.

David Colodney is the author of the chapbook, Mimeograph (Finishing Line Press, 2020). A two-time Pushcart nominee, his poems have appeared in The South Carolina Review, Panoply, Eunoia Review, Causeway Lit, and The Chaffin Journal, among others. David holds an MFA from Converse College, and lives in Boynton Beach, Florida, with his wife, three sons, and Golden Retriever.

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1 Response to My Father’s Walks

  1. L.K. Latham says:

    Made me sniffle. So sad.

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