Family Values

1.

Because as a child you lay alone in the dark waiting, counting, aching till you’d hear the hall door pushed open, your father safe home again no matter the hopeless state of him, it’s impossible not to think of your youngest daughter abroad alone in the dark on unknown roads when you see the straggle of homing crows overhead under slate-grey broken cloud, scattered but knowing their way, impossible not to feel the heart-ice in your chest while the anything that could happen steals your breath, and nothing to smooth away the thorn-spiked edge of anxiety till you hear the door pushed open and there—safe home like your saved father—she is.

 

2.

A world of black branches, blue sky, cloud scraps head over heels in puddles after rain. No words to reach the wild anxiety of things any ordinary Saturday—families tumbled tooth and claw into their own nest and bosom. Nerves go electric, blood seeps drop by drop, staining the frayed foot-of-the-bed Karaman, bringing its muted allegories to light. Air remains radiant, a mask of gold we shiver into, feeling the fall in Fall, the smell of vallied apples, small signs of this-world absolutes, though still no hint of absolution. Cross your fingers, so, into hope’s own plaintive, dream-lit cipher.

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