You Ask Your Father What a Lease Is


And he tells you about the geese beyond
the aqueduct, how they turn the sky grey,
how as a teen he never put his gun away dirty.
You remember the blue steel cleaner,
the sound of a rag drawn through a barrel,
and still, you catch the scent of solvent rising
from buried cells that ruled you as a boy.

The lease is meaningless: a square paced
first by seismic workers, and then your father,
and then by every other man you know.
But you’ve always pulled meaning from nothing
and when he leads you to an empty field, you
tear grass in fistfuls, read the roots like a will.

This appeared in the May 2012 issue.

Mathew Henderson grew up in Prince Edward Island and was a 2012 CBC Literary Awards finalist with Oilfield Poems.

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