Under the bed I could see
into the boxsprings.
It spooked me, so I usually lay face down.
Frail slats of wood over ghost fabric,
the insides so painfully exposed,
tensed metal coils suspended over me.
I waited there for my father to come home,
to settle his rump in the living room sofa,
open his paper, turn on the TV.
Then he was as good as not there.
It was his arrival that startled me.
When the tires hit the gravel
I bolted like a criminal, a thief,
gathering myself up: toys, books,
whatever might recall me, buoy him too long
before he sank in his chair,
the jovial questions trailing his mouth
while he was already unfolding his paper,
reading the headlines,
almost not there, but holding.