My father has “old age of the eyes.”
That means he’s going blind
slowly from the inside out.
He says I look like a model
with my hair swooped back.
He points out a covenant of blackbirds,
shaggy pines gone under by snow
and all he cannot possibly
see from his window.
I tell him where the sugar is
and where he left his spoon.
We watch the burly moon rise
in the privacy of winter
like a face being lifted.
Before we can finish our coffee
it repeats itself full phase
on the frozen lake.
This is no ordinary reincarnation
but a meticulous change of life.
He says, around the sun is a halo
and behind the moon is a mirror.
I have always been afraid of the dark
intruders of the mind, furniture monsters,
sudden ravines, the despair
of not being able to find things.
He says, the good part of it is
everything looks so nice.
My father died in 2005 at the age of 91.
Linda Back McKay is a poet, writer, and teaching artist. She is the author of several books, including The Next Best Thing (poetry, 2011 Nodin Press) and Out of the Shadows: Stories of Adoption and Reunion (nonfiction, 2012 North Star Press). She lives with the intrepid David McKay and their red-hot motorcycle in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but, she hastens to add, they were both born and raised in Saint Paul.