For My Father in February
A warm silence between “Janine” and “Are you awake?”
as I realize it’s black and the heat is running through the vents of our two
story suburban home and
is a shadow in the door frame of my bedroom
blocking a small amount of light from the hall.
In a sudden sweep I push away
from my down comforter
sweatpants and sweatshirt over flannel pajamas
and I follow him downstairs outside.
The neighborhood is still, so
still I believe that at this very moment all of Pennsylvania is mid-
breath, between inhale and exhale across the snow
which rests on every surface, the slanted rooftops,
the sparkling lamps of our neighbors’ front doors.
And then he sees it. Once my eyes adjust,
one flash. One streak. One moment of insight
as the light turns on in the sky.
mid 50s, pragmatic, stern,
has no understanding
of how his excitement
of seeing these shooting stars in our night sky fill
me with every impulse to run
and say, “isn’t this why we live?
Isn’t this what makes it all worth it?”
Yet, overwhelmed with so intense a desire to make him proud,
I say nothing
but hugging myself
I keep my face toward the sky.