At the movie theater, the clerk for the outside window
leaned in with my ticket as he grabbed my hand
and whispered in my ear, “I know your father.”
The woman behind me in line looked curiously
wondering what he and I would whisper about
he had only handed me a movie stub.
I didn’t recognize the man.
He glanced at me knowingly
gesturing to the woman move ahead, move ahead.
The film was filled with fog,
buzzards flying. In the valley
I saw my father, listening for his sea in this desert.
He lost his water and plenty of salt
dried in patterns around his eyes.
I waited for explosions for disease or other things
my father is known for. He walked dully
and his face melted with each step, the hanging mouth
an open admission, becoming an actor once again.
I listened to the ending monologue
about art and the obscurity of love
which can’t exist without a phonograph
or a well-cut bomber jacket that the actor wore
in the final scene, where tears
dried in patterns around the lovers’ eyes.
I took my ticket stub out of my pocket
and recognized my father’s face next to the numbers
that pull winners out of a crowd.
His cheeks were long and drawn and thin,
the actor if he had starved in the valley or lost his jacket.
The man gazed back with meager recognition.
About the Author: Kate Soules has published poetry and creative nonfiction in the Concho River Review, the Inflectionist Review, the New Poet, Meat for Tea, and the Transnational. She has two poems forthcoming in the Vine Leaves Literary Magazine. She lives in Edgartown, Massachusetts.