The Night You Died
On the phone, my mother's voice whined, Your father
just passed. I didn't cry, didn't die inside the way
a son does after his father beats him in a life
of fists and belts, nicknames and putdowns.
After we fought a word-battle between two fools
full of the history of bile separating us, I didn't regret
that I walked away without looking back, I didn't look
at that picture of you holding me in Deadwood.
Instead, in the doctor's office I cradled Eleanor,
the tortoise-shell cat I had loved so many years,
cancer in her liver. With the slits of her golden eyes
she gazed up at my eyes as if begging me to bid
goodbye, and I did, kissing her small black nose
wet with the tears I couldn't shed for you.
David Spicer has poems in Tipton Poetry Journal, Santa Clara Review, Reed Magazine, The Literary Nest, Synaeresis, Hamilton Stone Review, Chiron Review, Alcatraz, Gargoyle, Third Wednesday, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, and elsewhere. He is the author of Everybody Has a Story and five chapbooks; his latest chapbook is From the Limbs of a Pear Tree (Flutter Press).