My father came to me in a dream
to walk with me around a stadium.
Not wearing the jaunty motley of his last months:
the patchwork newsboy cap and paneled shirt
he wore when tearing around town,
smoke streaming from the car window.
“I’m not gonna make it,” he said.
“This may be the last time.
I don’t have the breath for it.”
We cried and smiled all at once.
The apparition faded, and I lapped the spot
before I knew. That morning
I had stopped to take some pictures
of a new structure: a five-story globe
affixed to a museum headquarters.
It was Sunday, the crews were gone,
but the wooden scaffolding clung
to the girders, “North State Steel”
spray-painted on each rib.
I had come before the planks were taken away
like cross-hatching erased,
before the world was made,
the panels bolted in place and painted
that planetary blue of earth from space,
that pendant marble
on which everything is always lost
like a glass eye that never sees
what it never ceases to watch.
David Rigsbee, winner of a 2012 Pushcart Prize, is the author of The Red Tower: New and Selected Poems (NewSouth Books, 2011) and The Pilot House (Black Lawrence Press, 2011), which won the Black River Poetry Prize. His School of the Americas will be published next spring, also by Black Lawrence. (updated 10/2011)