This is one of twelve sonnets that I wrote as my senior thesis at Reed in 1984. Almost all of the poems were about my father, and the work as a whole was called Snake Charm: Twelve Sonnets.
DADDY SHOWS UP IN A DREAM AS A DRUNKEN SAILOR
Thank you for your visit. I woke hungry.
Everything I’ve heard is true: no snake could
be such a charmer in a crush. But we
did have quite a time, for a while, you stewed
and me my Daddy’s girl. I understood
that afterwards I’d be alone and here
I am. Lately I see things as I should,
all taken bravely in and focused clear;
still, pain and beauty always disappear
too suddenly. I’ve been picking at your
bones too long. Scene by scene dreams reappear,
but, after, I can’t feel them any more.
The weather’s changed since the autumn solstice;
the light’s dazzling: Daddy, you should see this.