Wake: Up to Poetry
Longing for “Mid to Upper Seventies”: Poem of the Week
Here in North Carolina, we’re experiencing our first week of temperatures in the 90s, so mid to upper seventies sounds pretty good to us. Conor O’Callaghan’s poem leads us to a comfortable sunny spot.
“Mid to Upper Seventies”
He rests The Narrow Road to the Deep North
on an arm of the sunroom sofa-bed.
He walks to the front
to change the AC setting.
His father is asleep on the floor
before the hearth of a gas fire
that has gathered cobwebs since March.
Val Doonican, muted, is rocking on TV.
The year is now.
The house is forty miles or so
south of the Virginia line.
He hasn’t seen his father,
spoken with him, in at least a decade.
Jimmy Carter was governor of Georgia
when Val’s one-man slot came on the air.
He goes back in the sunroom.
Neither Val nor his dad will be there
when next he walks out front.
The book has fallen face-down on the oak
and it takes him a really long time,
years in fact, to recover his place.
from The Sun King (2013)