David shaves his father Every week A pilgrimage, a conversation Because the nurses are not good enough
For a job only a son can do A return, a tithe He guides his hand the way His father once did Along the paths now trembling hands Once had swept with such surety
Nothing is sure now: What an unruly son learns at the mirror (Pressed against it as his father guides) Is this – a meditation in reverse – Scraping away at the old each day, each week
Later becomes a homage at the cliff face The sweet-sourness of breath and skin
Today the razor wrapped in its innocence Lies on the kitchen table There will be no more missives, no more service Perhaps David will shave his own beard now At the alter of his basin and his grief
Louella Sullivan is a mom, English teacher and Pilates instructor. She completed an MA in Creative Writing at Rhodes in 2014. Her poems, described as “poised and vivid”, have appeared in Aerodrome, New Contrast, New Coin and Itch. In 2017, her first poetry collection “Salt” was published. It was hailed as “a delicately woven account of pregnancy and birth.” She is presently working on a second book and dreaming of a PhD.