After the darkness

by Amanda J Cobb

His laughter burst from his throat,
propelled desperately out
by the need to keep up appearances.

His temper was short on bad days,
frayed and combustible, an edge
that drew and made sparks.

His voice grew sparse, barely
daring a word, afraid of what
unintended inflections might give away.

They didn't catch attention.
It seemed just a phase, a mood.
His broad shoulders bore the weight

of years of misunderstandings,
of thinking himself unappreciated -
fights and looks, small things

added up. After Christmas when
he had the house to himself,
after exhaust and pills had failed,

he remembered the gun under his bed,
and sought solace for the ache
in his head through the cold steel of

a hot bullet. Tears cleaned streaks down
his dirty face. And we, a few hours too late,
remembered that we hadn't called,

what we hadn't said. We came home
to icicles over the door
and the cats meowing for their food,

brown paper packages on the table
next to a 7-page note of reproach,
dull red splatters on the wall.


Author's Note: Another one for the poetry class. An imitation of Marge Piercy's poem 'After the darkness,' which is about the death of her mother. This is about my father. Yeah. A little darker than I normally go. But The poetry portfolio is due tomorrow, so....yeah.

Posted on 04/25/2005
Copyright © 2020 Amanda J Cobb

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Kyle Anne Kish on 04/28/05 at 08:38 PM

Amanda, your poem is vivid, emotional and filled with the pain of "what ifs." I think you wrote it honestly and beautifully. ~~ Kyle Anne

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