THE UNDERWATER WOOD

TODD DILLARD

 
 

January mornings my father and I
gathered the curb-abandoned trees,
 
loaded them up in the truck bed
and drove north to Lake Conroe
 
to drown them in wakeless waters.
Nights after I dreamed of the submerged
 
decoration: fish eggs bejeweling branches,
strings of frogspore garlanding limbs,
 
until we returned that summer
with tackle and poles, pulled up gifts
 
of largemouth bass, catfish, bluegill,
my father’s beard bright with lager,
 
his cancer still decades away
from getting its act together.
 
Today another doctor handed me
a piece of paper that read:
 
             COMING SOON.
 
Tonight another dream of wandering
the underwater wood made of fathers’ bodies.
 
Ahead of me: a silver beard
flashes in murky depths.
 
I am hunting it.
I have a hatchet.
 
             (All eyes open.)
 
I know it’s a dream
because I can breathe.

 
 

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