milky way

My father sits alone on the living room couch, watching TV with a bottle of whiskey at his side. His Player’s cigarette packet bears the image of a bearded, blue-eyed sailor with Hero, the name of his ship, written on his cap band. He’s framed inside a lifebelt, with three ironclad warships, a lighthouse, and a yellow-orange sunrise in the background. A white swan drifts forever on the emerald waters on Father’s vesta matchbox. I smooth out the creases in his ruckled newspaper and hand it to him. When in a good mood, he lets me take a sip of whiskey. Unable to put a name to my face, he stares at me with bloodshot eyes.

a candle holds
the light