My Father’s Pronunciation
Somewhere in the past, in the Bedford
hills, you left behind the old way of speaking—
or mostly did: a few words you kept
unthinkingly, and I crouched in their wake
like a child with a Ball jar capped with hole-
punched cloth, that I might close them up,
stow them by my bed at night, be lulled to sleep
by the rustle of their wings against the glass.
Most of all, I wanted to save the word bury:
how you’d speak it like it was written,
so that when you said, We had to bury the old man
in winter, with the ground frozen,
the word rhymed with fury, not with tarry.