Back to Issue Forty-Four




They tell me the danger has passed.
Subway trains more or less
come on time: I’m no longer an iron filing, the tracks
have lost their magnetic pull.

A belt is again just a belt.

You are, a dear friend
says, stuck with a houseguest
that never leaves. The kind
of darkness that tries to trick you, hides
out for a time, but is always
ready to storm down from the attic
and tear the place apart.

My father used to lay
on the couch for weeks on end,
a bulk of fallen masonry
corroded by chemistry and fits.
My mother dusted around him.
Once, we paid the garbage men
to lift him so she could finish
painting the wall.

He died on a locked
ward where a woman
in a wheelchair accused me
of stealing her feet. There are days
I see him, slivered
with Lithium,
polished as a mirror,
pointing to the sky
through a hole where the roof

once was. We circle
the same bright tablet
of a star: planets
on a cold November morning,
visible though the sun is out.


David Hopson is the author of the novel All the Lasting Things (Little A, 2016). He earned his MFA in fiction from Columbia University. “Patrimony” is his first published poem.

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