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A Dream of My Father He was frying his last fish when we arrived. I remember he mumbled, was mumbling so quietly to himself. Or was it a song, he seemed so happy shuffling ,toward us, apron loose around him, houseslippers slapping that old floor. Behind him a skillet of sunfish crackling in cornmeal and oil as he stood there grinning, stub of cigar stuck in a corner of his mouth, his eyes and those fried bodies like an offering. His white hair combed back, coarse stubble on his chin … so many things saying this is how it should have been all along, this is what he’d always wanted, his family around him, everyone happy and him there, captain of his kitchen sharing what he could not name but knew was so real you could smell it as you walked into the house. Dancing Bodies, Heat Wave As a kind of droughtsong, the willow curled her leafy flutterings into question marks littering the lawn lemon-pale. I moved like a stage hand after, leaf-blower making a loud sad music. I went to a pond and fed a handful of day-old bread to a few ducks, their tails rhythmic as always. Their eyes inscrutable as a poet’s. I watched a few cars collide on heat-slick asphalt, heads slam glass, mouths form screams. Later, I shaved my dog. Now, in my lap here on the couch, he meditates with me on the meanings of the Sun. Enigmas of the Sun. He’s imagining water, I imagine: that backyard pool he’ll linger in under the old Pecans shading him, a few rib bones he’s buried there beside it. I can see only the ancient stone, la luna, reflecting, reflected: leaf, sign, fruit, work, creature, music, madness, friend-in-dreamland. The god. The dead bodies and the living bodies, all dancing together, but the strange angles of the light rising and falling, curving and deflecting off the silence inside them. Among the Owls There are owls, now, in my neighborhood. Exiles from the canyon, I guess hiding among my evergreens, overgrown. Well, it was a lazy winter without you, those pruners rusting out there in the snow-damp shed and my mind going blank at the ends of long books and me wandering the lonely rooms with a stubborn flu or standing there over the stove stirring those aromas, garlic and comino, the green chilies and pork stew: serranos and onions, sharp celery, poblanos and ‘taters diced down to tiny cubes like words pared by the knife of loneliness. And those owls out there, whispering. And now, mid-summer, in the blender those cold soups: cucumber and sour cream, gazpacho, that costly avocado Well, it is a lazy summer, too hot for hard work, I tell you. Even the owls teach me: hide from the Sun. Stir another whisper into the blender. Wait. Think. Some evenings, with Venus at the lip of the moon, it’s all I can do to murmur, I miss you. The owls give answer. Their voices, like muted colors, disappear into Sundown blues. How strange love is, here among the owls. Daniel Durham JULY 21, 2000 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 31