Challenge: Begin your poem with “I don’t have anything to say about …” and end it with “ … but in any case that’s how I feel.”
To Dad in Dreams:
I don’t have anything to say about the way you appear --- out of a pile of strange hoarded stuff, the flotsam of your life and death --- smiling, as if you never left us, first hiding in cheap beer and paranoia, then sliding into a permanent state of erasure. You appear and take up living as if it’s completely natural. “It was a mistake,” you say. “I wasn’t dead but only sleeping, deeply sleeping,” your smile shy, inviting, where in life it was sly, and vaguely biting. Here in dream’s many rooms you don’t say too much, but hang at my elbows, persistent, shadow protection, part of the crew. I expect you to step back up to the podium, to issue more ultimatums, but in this resurrection you prefer silence. I should love you now that you’ve been burned clean of living, your angry striving, your agitated anxieties, your small hates. Instead I’m filled with liquid indifference, and only worry that you will follow me back to reality, stand in my bedroom like Bartleby, watch me dress. I’m still afraid of you. I know I should forgive you, finally, but in any case that’s how I feel.