Sunnies, by Debra Kaufman

Debra Kaufman

The sun had not risen
when I slipped into the kitchen

and saw my father at the sink,
where he never stood.

He did not order me back to bed,
but turned and gently

showed me the gold
he’d reeled in himself.

Their scales glittered like fairy wings.
He called them sunnies,

his voice a low rumble
like the night train that slowed

as it passed through town.
He too was always leaving.

He smelled of the lake and coffee,
happy and sad together.

The dome light shone on the cold linoleum
and a sifting sort of lavender

air made me shiver. A wren
chittered in the weeping cherry.

I stepped my bare feet onto his huge brown shoe
and balanced there.

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