Meaning drips like a faucet
and moonlight sweats through curtains
on a cold spring night.
There’s your setting. So when my father
enters the kitchen to drink a glass of water,
to turn the faucet off, to close the window,
I’m not (too) surprised; he shows up in my poems
punctually, as a caretaker in the widest sense,
a character with a dramatic knack
for occupying twilit kitchens, lending them
mysterious beauty. He stands there
in the fading light, sipping the glass of water.
Meanwhile, silence is filling the kitchen,
gathering and pooling like a body of water,
like a body in water, gathering handfuls of it.
(The silence is made of my father’s silence,
the silence of the house and the silence
of the spring night, all of which are not silent at all.)
My father closes the window dutifully
(what does he care about silence?).
He turns off the faucet, the kitchen’s light;
and, as he clears his throat and sighs,
in that pause, it’s as if he is on stage.
We, the audience, aware that the play is ending,
hush; and my father, as if he can sense,
not the dramatic weight of the moment,
but the unnerving finality of another day ending,
closes his eyes, as if to more deeply
drink the night in. We, who are somewhere
inside the poem, though invisible,
close our eyes, too. Now my father and all of us
are closing our eyes at the same time;
and in the finale of the poem, the point
where the music reaches
its most intensely satisfying conclusion,
we find ourselves completely
in our self-imposed darkness,
like a river growing progressively darker
in a night that goes on and on.