When it has been a year
since I’ve seen my father
and my sense of the flesh of him
is a thin fade
I play back his messages on the machine.
I have saved them over the years
like a nesting box of voices
from his previous selves.
His soft greeting softens
papery first then like cloth.
I can hear the way it cottons over time
until his words are willow leaves
bending in the wind.
Such fine hairs.
And I think this is how angels
must talk, his voice is becoming
strands of light skimming
across the country to tell me
about the tree that fell in the night
and landed inches away from the house.
To tell me to be careful, to go slow.
Slower than I think slow is.
When I drove off so far away
in my car twenty-five years ago
I didn’t know what I was giving up.
But here I’ve been ever since
carrying this machine from place to place.