My Father Asks Me To Go To Church

My Father Asks Me To Go To Church

and write the day’s hymn numbers on a sheet of yellow paper.
He read about a woman who won the Powerball this way.

I take the paper, imagining the heavenly choir that will lift up their voices
when he’s handed the billion dollar check, and remember

those Sunday mornings as a child, how I held his hand
as he knelt in front of the television, listened to a preacher in a three-piece suit

tell us to expect a miracle. Now, years later, we drive down
to the lake where waves spill over the break wall.

The only TV we watch are reruns my father’s seen a hundred times.
Most days he spends with his papers and pills, anti-aging

remedies and notebooks filled with lottery numbers—his own troubled
alchemy.  I want to tell him about Emily Dickinson,

and the cup of coffee I drank this morning while watching the rain—
little miracles that occur every day—but he still expects a cosmic transformation,

a new soundtrack that will reinvent his life
in ways neither of us can comprehend.