I’ve been writing since I was eight, despite being told that I shouldn’t. Writing revealed too much. This is why I tell my students they should never be afraid to put the truth on the page. I’m a community college English professor, who alternately loves and despairs of her students. I’ve written lots of different things—newspaper columns, academic stuff, poems (including two chapbooks and a forthcoming full-length collection) and a couple of mystery novels, one of which will be published this spring by Barking Rain Press. At this very moment, my dog is sniffing through my trash for a draft of something to chew on. My website: www.laurelpeterson.com
Mom says you can’t remember words,
couldn’t remember where the bathroom was,
four steps from you,
when you woke in the middle of the night.
It was dark.
You couldn’t see your way.
You, my father, who piloted 747s
across the world and back,
who could guide a Navy plane
onto a churlish carrier,
who carried me on your shoulders
across my mother’s illness.
What evil magic could have conquered you,
stolen cat from your vocabulary,
left you grey and blank?
My husband, who lost his first wife,
would say to me that he didn’t understand
how something so living, so real
could turn into just not there.
I don’t know how to live
just not there.
We all end up somewhere that isn’t,
somewhere not a there at all.
Somewhere air blows through
rather than around.
What is living absence?
I’m with you, Daddy, in the dark.
How do I see my way?
©2016 Laurel Peterson