Barbara Crooker




The morning of my father's death, I was to leave my family,
travel south, work alone for a week. How can you do this,
he'd asked on previous trips, You won’t be home to fix dinner.
He thought I should cook stews and casseroles, label and stack
them in the freezer. This time, the car was already packed
with manuscripts, books, and computer; it was as if even death
could not stop him from reaching out to hold me back.
Stay home. How can you leave your family?

The last time I saw him, it was early January, white puffy
clouds, pale blue sky, like his hair and eyes. The temperature
hovered near zero, but the sky looked milky, benign.
Near the end, his breath was forced through a respirator,
stopping his speech. His eyes were mild as a baby's, full
of love the tongue could not express. This was the best
he could do. Through the narrow window,
the cold sky stretched blameless,
white and blue, behind him.  


Barbara Crooker has published in magazines such as Yankee, The Christian Science Monitor, Smartish Pace, and The Denver Quarterly, anthologies, including Worlds in their Words: An Anthology of Contemporary American Women Writers, and eleven chapbooks. She has won the 2005 Word Press First Book award for her first full-length book, Radiance, which was also a finalist for the 2006 Paterson Poetry Prize. This group of poems is from Line Dance, newly released from Word Press.


previously published in One Trick Pony  


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