The Milk Room
by Marcel Duclos
The Milk Room screams his absence.
His denim blue frock no longer
hangs on the wooden peg by the cooler.
Bright lights no longer sing his joy.
Those days of clanging forty-quart milk cans
hide within the grey clouds blanketing the farm.
Night hours no longer yield repose,
haunt the farmer–two early in retirement.
His son–the dreams lingers–
electrocuted in that now silent Milk Room
across the yard.
New England stoic, through and through,
he mutes raw trumpet screams of Why,
hammers his boy's name
in the box behind a pounding heart.
Only his scarlet face shouts–Wordless–the pain that chokes him.
always at the first sight of dawn,
coffee mug in hand,
he walks the farm.
A yellow-bellied sap-sucker–
his son's favorite bird–
greets him by the lumbered corral fence,
swoops to the ground from the old dying oak,
hunts for sunrise ants.
An old familiar joy surprises him,
softens his armored face,
companions his sorrow,
releases tears fogging the world.
He leans on the corner post,
remembers a young boy holding the level,
proud of his skill, of his belonging.
Tears at last.
He sobs two seasons' worth,
waters the weeds
inching across the gravel path
to the empty,
empty silent Milk Room.