Snow If You Melt for Me, I’ll Give You Something

by Barrett Warner

My father’s armored cavalry fatigue jacket
split down the side, ventilated by flak.
His collection of acorns with painted faces,
arranged according to beards and whiskers.
His Mason jar of shark teeth fossils because
all the land was once all the ocean.
The collar from his dog as a kid whose name
he can’t remember and so calls his sister to ask.
The time he fell to the ground at the woodpile
and sobbed, I don’t understand my son.
A shoebox where he keeps an assortment of rocks
and “Ara Heads’ he found walking plow zones.
His broken-down Bazooka. His canteen. His ammo
box of leather polish and brush supplies. His helmet.
The way he’d look at me for ten minutes after I’d
asked him about his day, the day he was having,
The story of the raccoon he stabbed with a hay fork
and drowned in a tub and stored in the ice box
and one day pulled it out to thaw and shot it dead.
Oh wait, that wasn’t ever his story. That was mine.