This Can’t Be

the place of consequence, the station of his embrace.
Or else I’m not son enough to see
the innocence and the spiritual fiddlings
in the uneven floorboards and joists,
in the guttural speech of the pipes,
in the limp and the lack of heat.
All we need, all we really need is light!
And let there be a roof with no leaks.
Oh father landlord, fill up all our breaches.

He gives himself to the cracks; into the chinks
my father lowers his bone,
the do-it-yourself funeral. He holds the wires
in his teeth. He strips the insulation back.
If it’s black, it’s juiceless; if it’s red, elegiac.

Bruce Smith, “This Can’t Be” from Silver and Information. Copyright © 1985 by Bruce Smith. Reprinted with the permission of The University of Georgia Press.
Source: Silver and Information (University of Georgia Press, 1985)