My father shuts his door against the heat,
and cowers in the air-conditioned dark --
sleeps off the war.
He battles in the far-off gloom, and wet,
and terror, breathing labored, heartbeat quick --
a fight ahead:
I push in, switch the light on, then a start --
he rears up, and begins another war,
with me the foe.
Braced against his rage, bearing the brunt
of blows, and shouts, and rains from anger past,
I stand my ground.
The secrecy and shadow of his fear
and mine emerge, to twist from damp and bright
to dry and dim.
I never cry. He pushes me away,
slips back into the cold and arid room,
brings on the night,
fleeing sharp images of combat,
closing past and present -- shuts his eyes
to time and me.