The Tongues of His Black Boots Say


as my father sleeps the world goes ondad 1980
his work boots are by the door
he left them there unlaced
the right run down at the heel
the left’s toe scuffed
his blue shirt hangs on a hook
wrinkled below the belt line
where every morning
its tails were tucked

there’s no forgiveness in pasts
just now and here, defeat
is the hardest epiphany
the tongues of his
black boots say

by Jim Culleny

Drawing: my father, James T. Culleny, 1918-1980,
from a photo taken the last time I saw him

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