my father’s brain

i drive with my father’s brain
wedged between the seats. we go
to get coffee and i sit with it
for a while in the car, listening
to its insistent questions
“can you get me a glass?
can you get me a pudding?
can you get me some ice?
can be a good daughter?”
i know how to do all of the above
except for the last one
somewhere, wedged in the back
of my brain
is an image of my father
standing in the garden
and letting me use
the hose and miracle-gro
on the plants.
i didn’t grow much that summer,
or maybe i did.
somewhere, wedged even further back
is the memory
of unemployment
of slamming doors
of thrown objects
of screaming
of broken things
but mostly i think of my father
of the wadded-up napkins
on the radiator next to his
favorite chair
and the strewn newspapers
pudding cups
empty glasses
and his blue eyes
that are always tearing
for some reason.
i carry my father’s brain
on two shiny compact discs
to the neurologist.
“here is my father’s brain,”
i tell the medical receptionist.
she probably hears that all the time.


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