Albert Goldbarth


Keats’s Phrase

My father’ s been dead for thirty years
but when he appears behind my shoulder
offering advice, or condemnation, or a quiet pride
in something I’ ve done that isn’ t even thistledown
or tiny shavings of balsa wood in the eyes of the world
— “Albie, grip in the middle and turn
with a steady pressure” — it’ s measurable,
if not the way the wind is in a sock,
or ohms, or net-and-gross, it registers the way
an absence sometimes does, and I listen to him
with a care I never exhibited when he was a presence,