“Negative Space” by Ron Koertge

2008-10-16_2344

My dad taught me to pack: lay out everything. Put back half. Roll things
that roll. Wrinkle-prone things on top of cotton things. Then pants, waist-
to-hem. Nooks and crannies for socks. Belts around the sides like snakes.
Plastic over that. Add shoes. Wear heavy stuff on the plane.
We started when I was little. I’d roll up socks. Then he’d pretend to put me
in the suitcase, and we’d laugh. Some guys bond with their dads shooting
hoops or talking about Chevrolets. We did it over luggage.
By the time I was twelve, if he was busy, I’d pack for him. Mom tried
but didn’t have the knack. He’d get somewhere, open his suitcase and text
me—”Perfect.” That one word from him meant a lot.
The funeral was terrible—him laid out in that big carton and me crying
and thinking, Look at all that wasted space.

“Negative Space” by Ron Koertge, from Sex World. © Red Hen Press, 2014.

This entry was posted in death, family, poetry and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to “Negative Space” by Ron Koertge

  1. anvilcrow says:

    My
    Dad
    And I
    Had
    Fishing
    Lots of
    Space
    Building
    Things
    Fixing
    Things
    And
    To
    Swear
    And
    Don’t
    Tell
    Mom

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