Opus Four One

In the loud times, too, I will seek you
as the lilac seeks the sky. To breathe your air 

in the warm days that sweeten
our side of the fence. Summer arrives on the backs 

of the fat-bodied ants that scavenge from behind the kitchen windowsill.
They leave behind sweet maps and messages like lovers’ notes.

For you, spiders that dare cross our door I catch in jars. Spiders you hate. Still,
you tell me: don’t kill them, put them outside. 

I don’t kill them even though I would.
I swear. Love makes space for small murders. 

The ants know a shuffle fitting for their small spaces,
and the spiders twist to the air’s thrumming 

that you can’t stop the rain from knowing. Though
the sky has a memory shorter even than the ocean,

where all sounds are amplified,
I will find you in the noise. 

In Season 

Baseball on the radio, and at Dad’s grave
the grass is the greenest I’ve seen, after spring
wet after wet made space for the slow sun overhead. 

The Tigers are losing.
I have time to think about dinner
and the fire and the meat and the grill 

Dad taught me to use. Because Father’s Day is soon,
I’m remembering the last conversation he and I had,
“Dad, I couldn’t hear you. What was that?” 

“Oh, Jason, don’t make me say it again.”
Today we’ll have burgers,
grill the asparagus with garlic. I cook potatoes
like Dad cooked potatoes; all you smell is butter.

Photo by Ochir-Erdene Oyunmedeg on Unsplash.

Jason Kahler

Jason Kahler is a teacher, writer, and researcher from Southeast Michigan. His scholarlyship and creative work have appeared in or are forthcoming from Cosmic Horror Monthly, Connecticut River Review, The Columbia Journal, Analog, Seneca Review, College English, the Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, the Stonecoast Review, and other publications.  Find him on his website and X.