Brian Phillip Whalen received a PhD from SUNY–Albany in 2015. His poems have appeared in Lake Effect, Mid-American Review, and North American Review. He lives in upstate New York.
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How Will I Address Him When He's Dead
I call my father during halftime when the Irish are on TV. (Family history: my father called his father from a rotary phone screwed to the wall.) It’s good to hear my father’s voice, to have cellular access to familiar sounds: his admonishments, his praise and anger. (Memory of bedtime songs he’d sing on his guitar: I sing them to my daughter now—Phil Ochs’s “When I’m Gone” and Kenny Loggins’s “Danny’s Song.”) My grandfather, who lived in Indiana, named my father James. I rarely think about it, his having a name—my father, James.