Every first Tuesday in April my father strolls

into my head. He greets me with frost-bitten

flowers, granite in his lips and his hands

immediately shuffle the dates

like cards.


Out with it, he says and like all the dead he waits

for the true-to-life months

of his absence.


I sigh. Spell out aloud to him my receding children

and hairline, my rust-proof job, the happy

tidings of my divorce, the soft

suicide of the photo albums.


My father nods, spreads a cold smile

through the room. I wait and see. Take his side. Count

our differences. But my father

keeps his memories on

like a coat.

From Night and Navel (2017); translated by Paul Vincent