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Panic


as the small hours taper my father stares at the wallpaper’s
        hooded flowers, the room’s stricken edges

near the wood's brink, blackened log, pin-stringed rain

I am not so far from him through the kitchen arch
               
a collage of dark-wired branches

fill a glass with water that shudders
        in the domestic hum

forked birch paths, huddled knots in trees

I throw the contents, a parabola that floods his arm
   
a junction of leaf-swill, cracked stumps

the collapse of his cigarette, its hiss,
        his sodden hand plunges its remains

muddled light sinks into the thirsting earth

and when dawn fumbles through skylight

foliage that alternately feathers and batters

it’s only just that with my eyes still sewn
        he upturns a pan of water on my sleep

prattled footfall, piped oaks, the palling sky