Carolyn OliverNovember 03, 2016
In the wind I lose the tumble of bone-white rocks
down the hillside in summer, a new lad missing
his footing or a goat scrabbling for parched grass.
 
Instead I linger over receding mountains
that rush high and fast out of the water, the light
sweeping up from dark waves. My brother’s glowing face.
 
Over the heavy breath of men grinding oars comes
the slap of wet on wood, like the head of a Greek
that once slipped from my hands in the temple’s torchlight.
 
I’d searched his face for Mycenae’s wild hills, his prayers
for a warrior’s commands. But he was no king
to break on my altar at last. Just an old man.
 
What I remember of my father: curls, oil-dark;
rough linen; a loose sandal he gave me to mend.
His hand was a blade slicing the air in summons.
 
I too have held the knife. Before gods, we tremble
like sails, must stand like the masts of ships. My father
shed no tears. There are enough in this wine-dark sea.

 

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

The latest from america

Over 171 faith-based and grassroots organizations across the Americas have signed a letter to bishops’ conferences advocating for humane immigration policies and for mitigating the forces compelling migration.
Chloe GuntherJuly 30, 2021
Even as I still would like to make everyone get vaccinated right this second, I also find myself praying for those still hesitant.
Jim McDermottJuly 30, 2021
Talking to God about my struggles came to be a crucial part of my mental health resilience and recovery.
Sue DoJuly 30, 2021
Turn your screen time into soul time with these Catholic prayer apps.
Amelia JareckeJuly 30, 2021