The spirit of my dying father stands in the road, his skin luminous as an angel’s, his bones betraying a wish for wings, the tree’s shadow over him like a hand, like the infinite clock of the beginning counting out the first hours. I cross the landscape of a late-summer afternoon. Children drift home. My father’s whistle cuts across air. Calls us back. Fills our bellies. At dusk in my old bedroom I would watch the streets empty and the porches close up. The soft touch of a breeze over my skin, my whole body echoing with touch, the neighbors’ voices trailing out of open windows, the line of a song someone might sing thinking they were alone. Sometimes my father would sit with me and we’d listen to Mrs. Wescott throw her drunken husband out, his Ford wagon full of ladders and paint pails rattling off down the road. Few words passed between us. Nothing now, I think, except the dying. I see him there, already, beside the tree, longing for us.