by Terri Linn Davis
It is Winter. My father stands in a stranger’s unlit kitchen.
See a table saw. He uses it just as he has for the last thirty-five years. See?
He is cutting small pieces of trim for cabinets. Look: this time,
the heartwood catches. The saw makes the same sound
cutting through lumber as it does blended with flesh. I am not there. He is alone.
We are afraid to look closely at the blood pouring out like it has the right to.
Listen: the saw is hushed. My father is alone with his shaking-
breaths and the raw meat of his thumb. He holds his hand tight to his chest,
as if that, too, might leave him. Watch, as my father fishes
his thumb pad from the saw blade; how he gathers it into a few squares
of paper towel. Later—he will ask the Emergency Room doctor
to reattach it. They won’t. He will leave—separated from it. He will go on. Live
with what is left. I will be haunted by the flesh of my father:
I see it—insect-eaten in a dumpster, as a small hill of ash, grey, shriveled hanging by a
wire around my neck—the beginning of my father’s death—
a part of him already buried.
Terri Linn Davis has an MFA in poetry from Southern Connecticut State University. She is the recipient of the Jack and Annie Smith Poets and Painters Award (2018). Her poems have most recently appeared in Neologism Poetry Journal, Belletrist, Ghost City Review and Persephone’s Daughters. She lives in Connecticut with her co-habby and their three sons. You can find her on twitter @TerriLinnDavis or on her website www.terrilinndavis.com