The Dream

(For my father)

I dreamed you were my child, and I had come
to tell you you must die. Your back was bowed,
and brittle as the wings of a dead moth which let the light shine through. Through the late window
we watched the sun spreading in meres of haze
over the crisp September fields that crumbled,
dissolving in our glances, into gold,
and then the dark words came, and with them, tears
rolling down my cheeks, and you were the one
to comfort me — your arm about my shoulders —
and childhood’s fears were all charmed away—
the kitchen floor quaking beneath black boots,
the leather strap descending (that hurt you more
than me), the tears I hid to make you sad —
and hunched together there we watched the shadows
come flocking from beneath the eaves — great bats
whose interwoven darlings blocked the sun
and brought night down.
Let dreams invade the night
that holds you now, father — dark voices tell you
how after many nightmares we are friends.