Why he taught me to fear him
is an unsolvable mystery
of sixty years, but I've no doubt he learned
his art from his father.
An artist in clay taught me
to make an image of my fear.
So here's my monster:
a rocking chair that goes on rocking.
When I was young my rocking chair
was like reverb in a burn ward,
like a live rabbit having his feet nailed
to the barn. Today my rocking chair
is more like the white space
in The Scream—it doesn't exist
but it's there.
When I heard my father coming up the stairs
I bolted like a wild bird flushed
by hunting dogs, I slid like a motorcycle
in gravel toward the back door—
realizing, too late, my father would see
the chair go on rocking.
Rocking for sixty years?
you might ask. Yes,
sixty, maybe more. Pain engraves
the deepest memory precisely because
the rocking chair goes on rocking.
About the Author
Daniel Dahlquist is a writer and a retired professor from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and you can read more of his work in his collection Slow Dancing in Carbondale.