Stephen Knauth

Somehow a slender limb of the silver maple
blots out the entire sun for a moment.
The page darkens, the air cools,
and my father steps out from behind the big hydrangea,
wearing his brown robe and smiling,
as he rarely had in life.
Son, I’m proud of you, he says,
bending to pluck a moss rose from the hedge.
I go back to my book, ashamed
at having conjured up his posthumous praise.
Light floods the page
as a freight rolls through town,
pulling the church bells and the crows and the sweet fat clouds.