A Negative of Snow

By Chase Twichell b. 1950 Chase Twichell
Ice on the puddles,
in the cups of fallen leaves.
I’d walk with Dad and a handful
of other men, the setters working
the fields, the underbrush.
It was my job to carry the birds.
I’d have them all plucked
by the time we got back to the car.
On the walk out I’d look
for puddles I’d missed
and break them.

Though many moonless nights
have fallen on the grave
like a negative of snow,
Dad’s wheelchair sometimes
flashes in my mind, and I hear
the bleating down the hall,
a voice berating its god,
his worthless anodynes,
and the doctors who were
at that very moment
increasing his morphine,
having failed to note
the word alcoholic on his chart,
meaning that his damaged liver
routed the opiates straight
to his brain, his beautiful fragile brain,
which I had not yet finished loving.
My father, who still had manners,
who was a hardwood, a tough tree.
That was his first death.

Chase Twichell, "A Negative of Snow" from Dog Language (Copper Canyon Press, 2005).

Source: Dog Language (Copper Canyon Press, 2005)

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Poet Chase Twichell b. 1950

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Family & Ancestors, Relationships