Conqueror

Kathy Fagan

The lights are green as far as I can see
all down the street, sweet spot predawn,
a Sunday, no one out. I measure time
in travel now. This route’s a favorite, half
derelict, half grand, an oak hydrangea
blooming on old wood. I left a note
in felt-tip for my dad, prepped him, then
reminded him last night, but at 4 I had to
mime and mouth for him Go back to bed,
my head tilted on sideways prayer hands.
He looked blank, obeyed. The ophthalmologist
explained how hard it is to see behind
his pupils; I forget the reasons why.
I’m at the terminal with the other early flyers,
thinking of the faces of the ancient kings
I’ve seen, their ears of stone, and their eyes,
no matter the direction or the time, looking,
as we must presume, ahead, and not inside.

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