Whitehall Road

by Kathy Nelson

In the middle of the century we buried you —
after King and before Tate; after My Lai
and before Kent State. Too soon,

the astronauts walked on the moon.
It all was dust: you were not there.
Sometimes, the year grown long,

I pass the house. The Bois d'Arc's there,
its thorns. The dogwood, gone.
I can't say what I'm looking for —

your brogan boots,
your fishing rod against the car,
your briefcase at the door?

Mother could not bear your books.
She gave them to me, your desk,
every picture. She does not speak of you.

I long to hear: you are so much
like your father. I wait in vain.
I, alone, am left to say your name.

Kathy Nelson is a poet living in Asheville, North Carolina. Her poems have appeared in US 1 Worksheets, Off the Coast, The Cortland Review, Switched-on Gutenberg, the Paterson Literary Review, Wild Goose Poetry Review, and other print and online journals. Her chapbook, Cattails, was published in May, 2013 by Main Street Rag.

About Whitehall Road—This was inspired by a poem by Anna Akhmatova. My beloved father died when I was a teenager and he comes often to mind as I age well beyond his age at death. This tribute, in particular, arose as I was entering a period of caring for my elderly mother, a period during which I have very much needed his stability, his generosity, and his love.