A leaf scuffs its brown shoe
across the street like a record needle
skipping through an old song
reminding me I have not heard
my father sing or say a single thing,
not even in the muffled branches
of my dreams, for twenty years.
I don't forget the songs he taught me
as I climb the tangled limbs of truth
and fiction, but I would trade them all,
without a doubt, to hear the voice
that bore the words like wings
as they flew from my father's mouth.
John Smith has published poetry in magazines such as New York Quarterly, The Literary Review, The Journal of New Jersey Poets, Paterson Literary Review, and Slant. He lives in Frenchtown, NJ.