Troubadour

by Eve Strillacci

Tell me again how the front door fluttered
like a wing, you, the boy, drawn through
the dark depths of the house as a pendulum
flies through its coffin of hours. Tell me again
how time buries us, memory's blind horse tilling

the backyard for bones. Give me the bodies,
Father, offer simulacrum: our stories.
Your mother kept a garden. You were seeded,
green and lovely, like a knight. She tended
turrets of tomatoes, spires of string beans,

translucent cabbage, buds like rooted pearls.
Pheasants barked from the butcher's block,
Grandfather's pets, a richly blooded meal
for poor Poles like yourselves, but you ate well,
better, even, than your brothers, hungry always

for the summer and her slick stone fruits—
a plum, a pear, whose tender flesh protects
a lignifying heart. Turn it back, turn it over,
show the roots that grew the forest, promise me
secrets, promise godliness, a nurse. Were we

a family of romantics? Were we brave? Once
you fenced through a hustle of bees to save
a neighbor. Twice you were married. Three times
you were thrown from memory's old horse.
Keep digging, Father. The corpse! The corpse!


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