Stranger at the Door
My father, now gone, was once
young, amber-eyed and cocky,
with a shock of black hair
schlocked across his forehead;
he loved math and his mother,
grew hot peppers and tomatoes,
stumbled drunkenly over
the doorsill to shout at his wife,
who could out-shout a banshee.
Today he stumbles achingly up
onto the porch of my house, knocks
timidly on my door—he’s lost
his voice, his calculations, his hair,
his way. He knocks, but I am afraid
to let him in. But the rapping
never stops, and I find him in numbers,
hot peppers, and the amber eyes
of my son, who loves his mother,
but not math, who speaks sweetly
to his wife and never, ever
beats his children.
Cordelia Hanemann has published works in several literary and historical journals and anthologies, including Southwest Review, Mainstreet Rag, Déjà vu, and has two chapbooks to her credit: Fevered Longings and Through a Glass Darkly. An watercolorist and writer, she is currently working on a novel about her roots in Cajun Louisiana.