His face half-formed in light, he trembles to greet
me, his hands ashake, his mouth, his head.
In this dream, its dimness, never complete
though more real than others, he is dead,
forever gone. I remember then that I
forgot to call him on Sunday, did not place
the key back on the rack, that I lied
about breaking the crystal vase,
a cherished gift from his second marriage.
So much now he will never know.
He stands, moves to speak, his larynx
gone, decayed. How can I not show
my regret? He used to yell my name. Good man,
I tell him. I know you were a good man.
A recipient of fellowships from Artist Trust and the Jack Straw Cultural Center, Jeanine Walker has published poems in The Chattahoochee Review, New Ohio Review, Prairie Schooner and elsewhere, and has a full-length collection forthcoming from Groundhog Poetry Press in fall 2021. She teaches poetry to children and adults in Seattle, WA, and online.