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April 2016, vol 12 no 1

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Glenn G. Coats


My father's clothes are wrinkled; the knees of his pants hang like chins. His neck is unshaven. He goes outside for short walks then sinks back into the couch. My father has no faith in God, no prayers for the sick, no words of forgiveness, no dreams, nothing.

There are photographs: a couple on their honeymoon in Maine, a white church, small house with a picket fence. Snapshots of children and grandchildren dressed up for birthdays, for proms and graduations, parties.

In one photo, mist is rising on a river. Shapes appear in the distance. My father moves the picture back and forth and tries to discern the images. Are the objects rocks, a jetty? Is there a boat in the current? My father is no longer certain – where he is.

along the shore
the shape of things
that wash back