Archive for Sunset

Theme Friday: Sunset

Posted in Theme Fridays with tags , on July 23, 2010 by clancyjane


I wake to sleep and take my waking slow/I learn by going where I have to go. Theodore Roethke

Old age should burn and rage at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Dylan Thomas

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead. (I think I made you up inside my head.) Sylvia Plath


Sunsets should come with a warning she thought, as the orange of evening was lost to the shadows. She drew closed his bedroom curtains, put the coffee on, and readied for her father’s burn and rage.

She pulled up a chair and watched his shrouded head awhile. The plain white sheet, mummy-tucked in at head and toe, had fooled more than one clinician. In awhile he drifted but found demons there and woke up hollering.

It’s not a holler you’d recognize from the ball field or The Friendly. There’s a crunch of shrapnel and heartbreak in it.

[She’d asked him once, when they lived on the hill, “Did you ever kill a man, Dad?”

“Yes” he’d said. And he’d cried then, like Missouri men do. Pulled out his hankie and mopped his face, and got his voice back before he continued.

“But they tell me that’s all right in a war.”]

She said his name and pulled back the cover from his sweet, bald head. “Hey, Dad. You’re dreaming. Everything’s all right. You can go back to sleep now.”

He looked toward the window and said he didn’t think so.

“Sure you can” she said. “I’m your Forward Observer now.”

“Oh…” He pretended a dismissive wave. “You’re not trained for that position.”

She felt good hearing him laugh.

“No worries. I learn by going where I have to go.”

They laughed together. He looked at the clock’s single digits and said, “Your big brother could help us, you know.” She thought it over and said, “No, Dad. I really don’t think he could.” She reminded him her sisters were arriving the next day. He nodded and fell back to sleep. In the morning she woke him for his medicine and said, “We made it!” He nodded and smiled a “Well, I’ll-be-damned.”

He rested easier then, in the daylight, so when he closed his eyes she did, too, and dreamt of the war, of his villains and her villanelles.

Christine and Annie (who selected this week’s theme) take on Sunset.