All That I Owe My Father
Darren Morris

All That I Owe My Father

He had already brought it up,
how much I owed him,
so many times, that the subject,
one of many, was banned
from our weekly calls.
He would tell me how much
he’d been losing lately.
He lost his keys, his phone,
his hearing aids, his glasses.
Recently, he misplaced his teeth,
the front two, gray in a silver
bridge. I’d see it on the side
of the sink, growing up.
Knocked out by a baseball
in his youth. Left on the edge
overnights as a reminder
of poverty and ascension and
agent of his dead wife’s vitriol.
You live long enough, he said,
to forget the value of memory.
Later at the Greyhound station,
he couldn’t find the reason
he’d gone there—not originally
when he stashed them,
nor when he found himself
there again, playing out
the habits of a scarecrow
who’d always lived in his shirt.
But he remembered
the loose ceiling tile above
the men’s room stall.
Or he did when his head fell back
as he emptied, as was his way,
and he caught a glint of silver
above him. A signal in the dark.

Darren Morris

has contributed to American Poetry Review, Missouri Review, Southern Review, New England Review, Best New Poets, and other journals. A recipient of a Virginia Commission for the Arts fellowship, he is currently the poetry editor for Parhelion Literary Magazine, based in Richmond, Virginia.