My father drinks from the spring of forgetfulness.
Through the stillness of an afternoon, awash
with reminiscence, he pauses,
relatives long gone rising to whisper
answers in his ear.
In his dreams they call to him
for an accounting, to enlighten the living.
The penumbra of his memory lumbers off
into far trees pulsing in the heat, while birds
levitate on afternoon thermals,
Out there, he says,
beyond the smoky haze setting on the fields,
a barn is burning, fire consuming the cobwebs,
an ancient roof on the verge of collapse.
The ropy egg whites of his eyes
puzzle over past yearnings unfulfilled.
He says that he is uninterested
in comfort without the truth.
Those of us who linger on may be rewarded,
like scholars in a library, or explorers navigating
the far tributaries of a flow
who may, at times, find the lost or the forgotten.
Daily he walks a dark corridor for exercise,
pondering old photos framed on the wall.
At the end of that passage is a door
where he will find the solutions to all riddles.
My father is uninterested in comfort without the truth.