Literature 5-8-2006

What Light: This Week’s Poem: Tim Brennan

Tim J. Brennan is the sixth poet chosen in this once-a-week yearlong survey of Minnesota’s poets and their work. The series is sponsored by Magers & Quinn Booksellers.

Tim Brennan

vanishing point

in late evenings

from my screen porch

where i summer slept,

i could see father’s

upper floor bed light,

its tiny shards tossing

light shafts into tall

spiraled oak trees,

beams bouncing infinitely

into night black air

often times, i could hear

mother’s asthma breath

soft calling his name; i imagined

her touching his darkness

with powdered hands

from the roundhouse yard

two small town blocks

from third street east, an iron

engine coupled ferociously

with box cars; the metallic wailing,

its dark rails off east off west,

off places i was not allowed to go

as he always did, father left early

morning, disappearing around

our green garage, returning later

with stick matches, tobacco

breath; stories of Nam, house fires,

Richard Nixon, and the one picture

of his father in his back wallet pocket

years later, after mother left me

her books, her Perry Como LP’s,

her Caldwell novels; years

after she buried herself in her yellow

wicker sewing basket, carefully threaded

and locked into her cold, mausoleum niche

i stood before her marble door

as winter tried to explain itself:

white dry god flakes heaped

on stained glass sills, child licked

from small red mittens; nearby

water frozen in a gray metal pail

it has been years

since she has held me,

years since she has practiced living;

the entire scene perspective,

the vanishing point of delivery

from mother’s past,

the converging

lines of my future

Tim J Brennan has taught secondary English to sophomores and seniors since 1983. His short plays have been produced in MN, TX, NY, IL, and CA. He was a 2002 finalist in the Great American Think-Off essay contest, and his poetry is regionally published, most recently by Rural America Art Center (The Green Blade) in conjunction with the John Hassler Theater in Plainview. He is married to Jaci and has two sons, Alex and Max (the handsome guy in orange).