My Father Is a Crab Nebula

By Amy Rose Lafty

I prayed for you to die in the middle
of the night—four days swelled into
a million Novembers, your tapping
against the morphine box an earth-
pulse beating thirty times per second.
The first time your knuckles whitened
against the bed rail, I felt the entire
universe shrivel to a single point.
There was nothing beyond this, so I
asked my husband to take the night
shift. Returned home to cradle life,
to disperse into a galaxy of milk.

In the bluish glow of morning
I tripped over the empty bag
left for you by some apologetic
undertaker. I stumbled behind
the woman still wearing your ring
to the basement, where only your
fish tank remained like a lighthouse
of fading orange filament. This

is my penance: night after night,
I am called to be your witness.
Like the most recent dream,
where you fold all of your clothes,
even your “good” black and white
sweater, into mounds between us,
not unlike light-years. Where your
hair, a moon garden, blooms with
flowering tobacco, and your belly
expands outward, searching for
new stars. You climb into the dark
of your empty dresser, murmur
something, and blur into the cedar.

Headshot of Amy Rose Lafty

Amy Rose Lafty is a Philly-born poet and educator. She fell for poetry at The Bread Loaf School of English, where she earned an MA in English in 2014. She currently lives in Delaware County, PA with her husband, two children, and Golden pup, Pinecone. In addition to writing, she has spent the last decade trying to convince high school students to love literature. Find her on Instagram @arlpoetry.

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