The Day is a Father

Fall, 2022 / No. 50

This poem is a day, light slanting through blinds

sun on a northern lake, fishing with a hook attached to a stick

playing baseball for hours, a fat cat winding around legs

wilderness hikes, canoeing, falling further and further behind

This poem asks questions no one else will verbalize

brings a stab of pain, causes awkward silence 

This poem is playing roughhouse on the floor

with a daughter who learns to fight back. She giggles 

swats at the poem’s head. It always lets her win

never makes her feel powerless

This poem is an entire galaxy of curiosity, separation, regret

It’s walking down the street talking about Darwin’s theories

sucking on a piece of milk chocolate 

while keeping a Hacky Sack from touching the sidewalk

This poem is programming the first portable computer 

to repeat simple patterns. It’s playing your first video game:

ASCII symbols arranged into rooms of a castle, monsters 

only visualized by closing your eyes 

This poem is the bright onslaught of our lives 

It will not live forever, but I need it to

What would any of this mean without a poem that questions everything

loves with tendrils that stretch across a continent

does not say no, except in anger

Emily Pohl-Weary teaches at the University of British Columbia School of Creative Writing. Her book about her grandmother, Better To Have Loved: The Life of Judith Merril, won the 2003 Hugo Award for non-fiction. She is the author of the poetry collection Iron-on Constellations and the novel A Girl Like Sugar. She first contributed to the magazine in 2001. Last updated fall, 2022.