This is the rit­ual each
time I visit

my father’s thin­ning hands 
in­scribe the air in an eco­nomic col­la­tion 
of tools: flame pot spoon pow­der milk and 
mug. A life­time ef­fi­ciency of sym­pa­thetic magic.

I sit in a silent halo un­der the
kitchen light, watch­ing while my 
fa­ther speaks words. The spoon dips, lifts, 
sifts and stirs, stain­less steel main­tained 
for years, glints and light clinks, milk and 
pow­der mea­sured in a per­fected prac­tice
    that mug was blue when
I gave it to him as a child, it has chipped, 
clipped, smashed and shat­tered — the ce­ramic
a speck­led white from his
metic­u­lous re­pair. I have given him
new ones and they sit in un­opened
boxes be­cause 
              he says
“they are
too nice to use.” 
                  smiles to him­self. 
I ask him about that and 
                         he just says 
“your great-grandma used to say
the same thing.“

My fa­ther gives
me the bro­ken cup.

It does not leak
but it is not easy 
to drink from. 

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