When my father totaled the white Volvo
leaving his own driveway,
the airbag bloomed
like a calla lily, sparing him
the stares of the gathering neighbors. The sky
was just turning apricot. A downy tapping
on the hide of a dogwood.
He came out to find my mother, he told us.
She could have gone wandering
again, knocking on
strangers’ doors without her teeth,
though she hadn’t walked
the length of the block in years.
Maybe they quarreled. Maybe he
threatened something and left,
and in the middle of it, forgot what he’d say
if he got there.
He woke with a scratch on his chin.
Let him think what he thinks, we know
why it happened.
The dinner in his honor that night. Monsignor himself
would make the toast. O Grand Knight!
O steadfast heart! They would bestow the purple raiment, heap
unbearable praise on him.
the airbag bloomed/ like a calla lily, sparing him