Marissa Schwalm | Father

By Marissa Schwalm
I’ve tried to write some great poem about you.
Perhaps I will be in it. I’m always in it.
Something about how long we went
through dark tunnels with each other
— Pittsburgh, the radio static,
on the way back from Carlisle,
the hurricane that came the day
I arrived to pick you up, how
a pole went through a man
in his car when he didn’t take cover.
The sky was an orange-green, the trees
bent at forced hips, the world tipped,
and I was glad to be standing near
you, remembering how I tucked
my head into the curve of your arm pit
when I was little. The way my ear
felt warm against your chest. And
in the car, we cleared our throats
of the years to have our first real
conversation in almost a decade.
The grown silence built up
like the dead leaves from spring
clogging up the gutters we passed,
the way we sang Queen
like we were dying, like Freddie —
we at last moved toward each other.
Maybe it will be different now,
maybe there won’t be tunnels at all,
the way the sun hit our eyes
as we went through the last grey passageway
and after miles and miles of bare hills,
medians, and the radio crackling like fire,
the city lights up for us on the other side.

Date of publication: 
April 4, 2014


Marissa Schwalm has a Ph.D. in English Literature and Creative Writing from Binghamton University in New York, where her fields of study include contemporary poetry and creative nonfiction. Her creative work has been published most recently in Clockhouse Review, Ragazine, First Inkling, Decompression, and others.