Late Elegy for My Father
Only later I would remember
a night when I was ten, and you, just home from the hunt,
were cleaning game birds, feather-fat on the basement floor,
and in one duck, a pliant, rubbery egg
soft shelled as a science trick decalcified in vinegar.
You eased it, hot with blood, into my hands.
I carried it to my room and a nest of towels
where it cooled and hardened to gleaming under a reading lamp.
And if you were with me now
you might not remember, though each of us knew,
how most intentions neither breathe nor wing.
Jan Presley recently retired from more than twenty years of teaching high school English. Beginning with her mother's clandestine submission of her writing to national contests, Jan's poetry won some awards over those years, including the Writer's Digest Prize (1999) and the New Orleans' Faulkner House Word and Music Festival Award (2003). She has an MFA from Southern Illinois University and is working on a chapbook. Her home is with her kind husband on the edge of the Shawnee Hills of Southern Illinois where she is grateful for the lingering pull of poetry.