Some days, he writes, my days are upside down. Like this. The sky he shot slips from the envelope I had opened the way he taught: slit the skinny side and blow.
He’s tethered now, my father, to the flow of oxygen delivered from a pump via flexible tubing running along stairs and hallways, wrapping around chair legs. Every day he heads out to check on what we’ve come to call his river. Chocolate lab on a leather leash, camera secured around his neck, warm gloves and hat. My mother by his side.
Some poets tell us the sky is a pond of water. Others write: water is sky, fallen.
Look, I announce to a friend, another photo from my dad. We’ve been sitting at my kitchen table, reading Facebook status updates in snippets to each other. No fair to read the entire status–just lift a few key words:
” . . . raised to the power of music . . .”
” Nothing like putting your foot into your rainbow . . .”
” . . . he overlooked the sun . . .”
” . . . I overshot the sky . . .”
He reaches across the table for the photo. Tomorrow, I’ll slide it inside a frame my father made from ruined juniper on my sister’s farm. Which is it? I ask: Sky as water, or water as fallen sky?
Whatever spills your spirit, he replied, turning the photo right-side up, which for me was wrong-side down.