My father’s back porch at 4 a.m. Stars
scattered in the low

sky. White ice on gutter metal. Moon
hum, then wind. The only

time I felt safe with him
was riding in the dented

Ford flatbed. It was barn owl-grey,
rusted out. I remember the jazz

channel blaring Ella, Duke
& Billie. I tried to replace his shifty

touches, imagine him in safe
corners where I yearned

for him to stay. He’s aged & it’s made
a difference. He’s worn down

& tremorous, no longer
able to follow through & he

doesn’t remember his aberrant
habits. Perhaps he’s relieved

they no longer, like a crazed
internal gyroscope, compel

him. I came back to town
a decade ago after bolting

wildly for 25 years. I help out
with laundry & groceries, confining

chores to weekends. Can’t get too
close. Small items are beginning

to show neglect. His hummingbird
feeder has dried up, crusted

nectar stuck to cracked red
plastic. Some days I’m almost

able to forgive him once
& for all. I sense the end

of blame like the next
bus. Here on the moss

covered deck he’s too feeble
to fix, I convince myself he

can no longer violate. I gaze into
December & petition the cold

sky, but no grace comes. Maybe
a few chores will do for now. Wash

& drain the feeder. Wipe it
clean with a dust rag

& fill it with hummingbird
nectar. Wait until spring.