To My Daughter Katie

Photograph: © Jeffrey Chapman. All rights reserved.

(after the divorce)

If once I promised you
the durability of vinyl siding,
I apologize.

If I sustained
my faithfulness
with strenuous
and just ran out of breath,
here is a mighty silence.

Now that diligence
(my best protection)
slipped off me
like a split skin,
rawness is all
I have to offer.

I know you never
quite trusted all the names
I put on things
(the lepidopterist words),
no matter how clean the
piercing pin
or elegant the felt.

My past is a freighter
of complex registry
I pointed out to you
as if on the horizon.
How could I forget
it is your vessel too?

Now I am just
another passenger,
on a cold deck chair
wind in my tearing eyes,
blanket on my knees,
hoping we can talk.

Scudder Parker grew up on a family farm in North Danville VT. He’s been a Protestant minister, state senator, utility regulator, candidate for Governor, consultant on energy efficiency and renewable energy, and is settling into his ongoing work as a poet and essay writer. He’s a passionate gardener and proud grandfather of four. He and his wife, Susan, live in Middlesex, VT. Scudder has published in Sun Magazine, Vermont Life, Northern Woodlands, Wordrunner, Passager, Eclectica, Twyckenham Notes, Crosswinds, Ponder Review, La Presa, Aquifer, and Sky Island Journal. His first volume of poetry Safe as Lightning was released in June 2020, by Rootstock Publishing.

Appears In

Issue 14

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