by Elizabeth Levinson

After eight months at sea,
He still hasn’t found his land legs,
My father walks in feebly

We must seem as mermaids,
More bitter than benevolent,
Dragging him from his ship

At dinner, he repeats himself,
A joke that no one hears,
Every time, he gets a little louder

When his feet take a more steady gait
I notice the way my mother’s dress
Catches the light when he spins her
Does he see cheap lamé
Or scales against her skin?

He has gone completely grey.
His hair is cut too short.
When he stands next to her,
He looks older than my mother.

Later, while dancing he says,
“You will only be able to have
Half the things you want in life.”

He dips me, and for a moment,
I find myself pulling him down again
Without even trying.  


Elizabeth Levinson is a high school English teacher on the south side
of Chicago.  She is currently pursuing an MFA in poetry from Pacific
University in Oregon.  Levinson has been published in
Roast Magazine
as the winner of the 2005 Davis Demitasse poetry contest.

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 5, Number 1
(Spring 2010)

Copyright © 2010
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.