Flying Home to See Your Father by Matthew Walsh


When you’re high enough you and the sun
are on the same level. The sky changes
like Hypercolor T-shirts your Dad ordered
from the Sears catalogue. That is science,
and it touches you to see changes so gradual
and real as your eyes. Up here you see light
refracting, you see a rainbow in your water. Up here
clouds look like the Earth’s brain, clouds
of wrinkled concentration. Flying over medulla,
oblong in the air. You gotta relax. Things change.
Liquid to gas. Up here you see through portals, all this
before you was here before you. Below is Alberta
and mountains and bad lands, knuckles of terrain rugged
as your Dad’s hands. The sun has its behaviours,
moments of rise and fall. Up here you realize it’s
mortal. Rewinding time, astronomers regarded it
as an insignificant star. That was science. There are things
that have not been fully explained. Below is Saskatchewan,
commas of lakes and squares of land that remind you
of the patchwork quilt your Dad pulled over his legs
in the glow of the TV. Up there are channels
and rivers frozen and silver. From here, the bodies
of water are your Dad’s footsteps in snow, like he strode
over Canada in one go. You have spent so long
living under your hair. He’s been gone years
in what you now see as the flowers of the highway.
Feel the descent in your body, see the fragments
of a strangers face between the seats.



Matthew Walsh is currently studying Creative Writing in UBC’S MFA program. His work has been or will be featured in The Found Poetry Review, Carousel, Descant, Existere, Matrix, Carte Blanche and as part of the Halifax Commons Poetry Anthology. His long poem Cloud Grape won the York University President’s Prize for poetry. He is currently a member of Prism magazine’s editorial board.