and signed it like a break-up note
by dying. Stoic farmers, we stared
across his corpse and dared
each other to break. No one cried
but his spotted dog, late that night.
Shut outside, it crept along
the side of the house to Father’s window
and then raised its face and howled.
Intemperate cries like strong ropes
that must tether Father here,
that must prevent his soul from rising.
I see the field of sweet mown grass,
and I hear Father singing,
his heavy arm hot around my shoulders,
and the sun, always shining.
~ Lori Baker Martin
Lori Baker Martin lives and works in Southeast Kansas where she is currently teaching English at Independence Community College. She’s had work published in Prick of the Spindle, The MacGuffin, and The Little Balkans Review, and has been awarded for her work in The Cincinnati Review and Kansas Voices. She’s a graduate of Iowa Writer’s Workshop where she was named a Truman Capote Fellow and received the Clark Fischer Ansley Award for Excellence in Fiction.