Memento by Lori Baker Martin

I am leaving, Father said, For Caryn

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.


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