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.