“Dear Father” by this Thursday’s Writers Read guest, Méira Cook, from the sequence “The Book of Imaginary Fathers”:
You say that bird outside your window
keeps imitating an alarm clock
and waking you up in the middle of the night?
Must work the fat off your nerves all right.
And while we’re on the subject of nerve,
here’s how to stop the onions from bullying you:
Peel under running water.
Hold a kitchen match between your teeth.
Salt your cutting board.
Or lightly pepper your fancy.
Don’t worry, it’s vegetables not grief,
it always was. Just wait it out
is what you taught me: birds die
or run out of batteries at least, or learn
other mimicries. A bottle of gin, perhaps,
clouding over gently in the freezer
of your good regard.