Paul Fisher

In My Father’s Absence


Men make women messy,
my mother loved to vent
while supervising pickups
of plastic soldiers from my room.
But I was six, too young
to count the dead,
too full of spunk to quake
before the high-pitched chorus
echoing each a cappella rant.
Perhaps the better half of God
once raised her voice
while ordering untidy worlds,
rewinding wind and whirlpools,
boxing ears and grounding boats.
I see her on the seventh evening
watching leaves and snow
descend in whorls like cereal and sugar
her ragamuffin children stir and spill
among the twigs and burls,
the wooden blocks and battle gear
she reads like bones,
then sweeps from forest floors.


“In my Father’s Absence” originally appeared in Nimrod International Journal.


Paul Fisher was born and raised in Seattle, and currently lives in Bellingham. He earned an MA in Art and Education at Washington University in St. Louis, an MFA from the Poetry Program at New England College in New Hampshire, and is the recipient of an Individual Artist’s Fellowship in Poetry from the Oregon Arts Commission. His first full-length book of poems, Rumors of Shore, won the 2009 Blue Light Book Award, and was published by in 2010. Recent poems have appeared in journals such as Cave Wall, Crab Creek Review, Naugatuck River Review, and Nimrod International Journal.