The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Mark Jarman

Now That the Father’s Gone the Sons Are Equal


Now that the father’s gone the sons are equal,
the daughters, too – no one is number one.
Each will step forward with a eulogy
and sing the survivor’s song.

That song includes nothing from the nest,
nothing that used to out-scream other songs.
It will not gape to be fed first or wing-push
the others out.

The song—if anyone can truly sing it—
has never aimed at eloquence or soared
but pivots from the stage, laconic, humbled,
after a word.

There is no one among the favored children
who can achieve the parent’s range of song.
And that is what each sings—that falling short
is the survivor’s song.




MARK JARMAN's most recent collection of poetry is Bone Fires:  New and Selected Poems (Sarabande Books, 2011).  Sarabande Books will publish his next collection, The Heronry, in January, 2017.  He is Centennial Professor of English at Vanderbilt University.



Previous | Next