Evergreen vi by Michael Homolka

Fine-toothed margins         reddish brown

there cover their faces

Crows on the path to sea
They see my father         his neck out

The litter sets down on the spot

Go comfort him
my mother says

Telephone         slippers
pajamas and robes

I don’t think I can make it

Black-toothed         hairy
the phone begins to ring again

as running through paths
we all say         Dad you’re invited

Blossoms to dust         They see
him coming

I feel strongly         somewhat intoxicated
I think that I should stay

Gray-green ash         peachleaf and plain
my father might as well hang up

The telephone rings
They see him coming

The winds         the temple the         flock of

crows at the boat
He draws a breath

slender path down to sea
TV on its lowest setting

I tell my mother Dad’s still angry
She says she


Gold floor lamp and
magazine stand         Everyone here

will be disappointed
The assassins arrive         intoxicated
drooping toward ends

furrowed dark         dark

Throw it away         tribune my father
had once defended

He remembers another
childhood then         Where is he

His hair unkempt         his face
dusty         worn by anxiety

A similar purplish tinge
my mother and sister

shake her heads         Throw it away

Veins on the undersurface         pale green

stretching his neck out from the litter

a sight to make
all Romans shudder

His head         his hands
blossoms dropping

irregularly         The rest of us
are killing him

Cawing lustily
his other childhood by the shoulders

not my mother’s face
but an image of his own soul

Dad you’re invited
Greenish-gray         tinged with red

my sister still searching         Black willow
are you a doctor

He touches his lips to the napkin

The temple         the wind
predators against the railing

Mother         my father’s still angry

The head and hands
are brought to Rome         Semi-

evergreen         an image of
my father’s soul

He touches his lips
to the crows at the window         not

my mother’s face
Where is he

He removes his glasses
grayish blossoms

dropping irregularly
The telephone rings

everyone listens
My mother         my sister         I too

all of us must
be killing him         sleeping bags out

on the living room floor

Shady path to sea         neck
out         his sixty-fourth year

Forgive her         Why didn’t she see
the crows at the window

Mother         why didn’t you

The telephone rings         he might as well
hang up

mind         each of us is killing him

Tinged with red         his hair

my father’s head and hands
no image

I am sure


Michael Homolka’s poems and essays appear or are forthcoming in publications such as Denver Quarterly, Parnassus, Ploughshares, Southern Humanities Review, The Threepenny Review, and Witness. He grew up in Los Angeles and works in book production in New York City.