poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

Recorded for Poem-a-Day, February 23, 2017.
About this Poem 

“In the struggle to stay connected to his father, a son might wonder what kind of sacrifice is needed to jettison the pain (of rejection, of disapproval, of dislocation) in order to say, with honesty and generosity, ‘Here I am, Dad.’ When we collide with our parents’ limitations and still manage to enjoy connection, we feel vast.”
—Thomas Dooley

Abraham and Isaac

You tried to take
my red metals with your wolf jaw tongs

to forge a body never to be flame-licked again
but I reached out and held you

by the throat, pressed
my ear to your chest that meadow

startled with magpies.
You are not the first man

who tried to make my body a smoke.
But here I am

to silver the air and surround you
like a sky vast enough

to take your embers into itself;
I’ve been made to carry your fires.

Copyright © 2017 by Thomas Dooley. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 23, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2017 by Thomas Dooley. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 23, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Thomas Dooley

Thomas Dooley

Thomas Dooley is the author of Trespass (Harper Perennial, 2014). He is artistic director of Emotive Fruition, a theater collective of actors and poets in New York. He lives in Brooklyn. 

by this poet

poem

as if opening a crepe sail
on a raft of linden
downriver with no
glacial cut swerve down
soft like bourbon if I could
ask the waters then
to chop to shake
an apology when you cry
I feel a wet bank in me
ring dry here I’ll wrap you
in the piano shawl from the upright

poem

And there was evening, humid
with lightning, when my father

fell to the earth like summer hail,
scattered. I gathered

my mother, we threw in
a handful of pebbles. And

there was morning, bitterly.
There was evening news

bluing walls, violet morning
on thunderheads,

2