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The Sun King

Conor O'Callaghan
Gallery Books

Mid to Upper Seventies

He rests The Narrow Road to the Deep North
on an arm of the sunroom sofa-bed.
 He walks to the front
 to change the AC setting.


His father is asleep on the floor
 before the hearth of a gas fire
 that has gathered cobwebs since March.
Val Doonican, muted, is rocking on TV.


The year is now.
The house is forty miles or so
south of the Virginia line.
He hasn't seen his father,
spoken with him, in at least a decade.
Jimmy Carter was governor of Georgia
when Val's one-man slot came on the air.


He goes back in the sunroom.
Neither Val nor his dad will be there
when next he walks out front.
The book has fallen face-down on the oak
and it takes him a really long time,
years in fact, to recover his place.