The London Magazine - - PATRICIA MCCARTHY -

for Ken

Cold, mea­sured, you drew your father while he lay dy­ing, teas­ing him into the per­fec­tion of your art, of­fer­ing fresh life in your swiftest lines.

It was re­cip­ro­cal: his eyes lolled back into where ex­pe­ri­ences had coiled use­lessly, gave you their ex­pres­sion of in­ten­sity to in­herit, not de­spair.

His breath bal­anced on the in­held breath of the awed wind, brush­ing your fist as it clenched; his light en­tered the lead in your pen­cil with the in­cip­i­ence of day.

A makeshift Creator, you stayed him in your world where steeples stretched taller for him in the dark, and swan­songs dressed his bones with some­thing like skin,

re­plac­ing hol­lows with a smudged bloom. Tell those who crit­i­cised your con­trol how art and life used each other with such hal­low­ing that the pa­per

be­came a cra­dle when you scooped him up – sanc­ti­fied into your wrung hand.

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