Standing on the seawall, iron cuts twenty feet deep into Erie’s shoreline. “Twenty seven,”
my father would say when he used to put his hands on his hips, a cigarette
between his fingers.
“You changed the formation of a great lake,” I’d say. He’d laugh and walk away.
His wall changed things.
In his wheelchair
watching hummingbirds, listening to Johnny Cash makes him sleep,
his good hand on the brake.
He used to be stronger.
The lake is milk green hushing light into shore, his chin on chest.
He told me: “I dream I’m painting sometimes.”
“And what do you paint?”
He takes a sip of coffee,
“a path, a pond, trees green like these … no greener.”
Standing on the seawall, I can see the painting from here
even though it’s put away deep in his shed where I found it.
He told me, “when I paint, she walks …
she walks up the path to meet me.”


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