His Father's Passing, January 2
CJ Giroux

His Father's Passing, January 2

I am inching along
northbound I-75 at dusk,
a snow-covered serpent
of concrete sinew,
as my cousin’s voice filters through Bluetooth.

I hear his relief.
I have heard his anger,
imagined it, antlered and lean,
running along the ditch,
its white tail raised in alarm.
He will call back with funeral details.

In this afternoon’s turning time,
I look away from lane markers
to count the wild turkeys—
gleaning the shorn fields
where hunting blinds become
grey scabs on the horizon.

I offer into the gloaming
a silent prayer
of acceptance, wisdom, serenity, difference.
I try to remember the crucifix at Maria del Popolo,
a golden Christ leaping off the church’s cross.
I try to recite the faith of St. Francis,
but can only imagine his bleeding hands
holding a furred paw,
a creche lined with hay and sweet timothy
speckled with blood,
a request for turtledoves
where none exist.

CJ Giroux

teaches at Saginaw Valley State University and serves as the assistant director of the school’s writing center. He also serves as the co-director of the university’s Center for Community Writing and is one of the founding editors of the community arts journal Still Life.