Firethorn

Over chatter of starlings and grackles,
you hear your father’s voice,
confident and constant as bee hum
in the backyard of your thoughts.
Echoing along the bedroom halls
of your memory, his voice lingers.
Even my grandfather, as he lay
dying in his son’s spare bed,
still heard his father’s intonations.
It does not matter if your father
were sage or simple, puissant or pathetic.
You hear his voice troubling you,
now a low intoning, now a thundering,
challenging you again from distraction.
You hear his voice, until one day,
you realize it is not his and has not been
for a long time. Instead, it is the sound
of your own venting, your pleading,
or perhaps your keening for a voice
you never heard, but imagined
and loved to distraction even in absence.
It is, after all, your own obsessive
dadadadadadadaaa until, finally, you
pull your hands away from your ears
and, as a wren chitters in the firethorn,
hear God speak for the first time.

Kevin Hadduck lives and works in McPherson, Kansas.

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