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The Talon House



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"Keep this," my father writes. "It's the last card

you'll get from me." I have a collection –

from Christmas, Easter, my summer birthday.

He empties his house, gives furniture to

strangers. "Take this," he says, offering me

frozen food that must keep two hundred miles.

He stuffs suits in my car, fills the front seat

with shoes. "Wear this," he says, meaning old ties

and a sweatshirt abandoned years ago.

He's proud to show two bare rooms, a garage

without tools. The newspaper passes in

the carrier's sack; magazines expire.

Behind us, the sun slides to memory.

The shadows we cast slip into our shoes.

"I'm ready for this," he says, but doesn't

follow me to the driveway. As if he

means me to see how everything will look

without him, he's vanished when I reach my car.

Gary Fincke

Prairie Schooner

Volume 78, Number 2

Summer 2004

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