In the year of no, as in no way and no how, needing his advice as my cushion, my father suddenly died. Relatives swarmed our family home, comforting my stunned mother and sharing massive platters of turkey and ham brought in by the community, as we gathered our inner resources for the funeral. Disabled by grief, when we arrived outside the already-filled church, the congregation singing hymns from my childhood, my heart pounded, knees buckling. My mother reminded me that I was NOT to break down, weep so anyone could see, or, god forbid, throw myself over the casket like my bi-polar cousin did when her own father died, so I bit my lip, carried myself out of my body when the urge to humiliate my family grew too great, watching the minister exhort us to feel joyful, but he really meant those joy words for my father’s ears, picked off from the herd so quickly, gone to see his maker, bed left cold, garden fallow, while I was left wondering why I could shed tears openly over my dog’s death, or a husband’s abandonment, but not at the most important loss in my life thus far.
songs stifled —
whale bones lie silent below
the Wadi Hitan
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The poems of Pris Campbell have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including PoetsArtists, Rusty Truck, Bicycle Review, Chiron Review, and Outlaw Poetry Network. The Small Press has published eight collections of her poetry and Clemson University Press a collaboration with Scott Owens. When The Wolves Come After You, with Michael Parker, from Goss Publications and Squalls on the Horizon, a book of tanka, from Nixes Mate and My Southern Childhood are her most recent small press books. A former Clinical Psychologist, sailor and bicyclist until sidelined by ME/CFS in 1990, she makes her home in the Greater West Palm Beach, Florida, with her husband.