“Missing a Father” by Jean Eng1 min read


Photo by Liane Metzler

A blue jay pulls his screech
across thresholds of
dawn, tripping me awake.

Somewhere, someone else will
stumble into a room built by
the inevitable, lit with sconces.

My routine gropes for its habits:
ablutions, blinds withdrawn
praise for green tea and raisin

toast; their fine job of sustenance.
The gentle illusions needed
to belie calm and perpetuity

submit their hands for
inspection. I check for
duplicity, acts of sabotage.

I scrub them anyway
using the fragrance-free
soap of low-grade anxiety.

Tai chi anyone? Carry tiger
to the mountain, then
wave hands as clouds.


Jean Eng is a painter and poet from Toronto, Ontario. Her writing has appeared in literary journals from Canada, the U.S. and U.K. These include Canadian Literature, Contemporary Verse 2, Vallum, Grain and Stand. A debut collection of poetry is forthcoming from Inanna Publications in Fall 2020.


Lillian Blakey 23 June, 2020 - 12:09 pm

I love the poem- so full of love and the sweet sadness of loss and memory.

Liz Gauffreau 24 June, 2020 - 6:06 pm

I love your poem as well, how we try to use those small moments of routine to recover our equilibrium, when it’s been irrevocably disrupted.


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