Going, going, gone
Three dollars, three fifty, four, the bristles
of Daddy's hairbrush, a handful of porcupine quills
rough as his unshaven face. In the trees,
moths roost like hens, their wings so still
as though Daddy had painted them.
The auctioneer, his black felt hat drooping
with the heat, strides across the snow of their wings,
Daddy's wristwatch nesting
in the palm of his hand, a raven. "Nevermore,"
Daddy would read to us. "Never again,"
Mama said bundling up Daddy's things with prickly twine.
He painted everything: house, barn, yearlings, tractor. "Sold,"
yells the auctioneer, a weathercock in his arms,
wings rough as the hides of Daddy's painted calves.
"Death is too smooth to paint," Daddy said.
But the faster he painted, the faster he died.
I cut the bristles from his brushes,
but he simply tied horsetail hairs to sticks.
Daddy even painted himself, skin translucent as moth wings.
I would sit on his lap. "Paint me, "I would ask,
patting his stubble until my hand stung.
I wanted to go where he was going.