All Saints’ Day

I didn’t expect my father to return

in female form, but there he was: a doe
beside the chapel in the morning rain,
with two companions by his side, all grazing
for the last sweet grass that tried to lay

down roots for winter. Absent — the blue heart
we buried; his legs were strong. He was so brave
for coming back without a voice, unable
to speak of what we could not change. I had

no choice except to let myself let go
of everything I held against him still.
The others dipped their heads approvingly,
then fled. He gazed at me a moment longer

before he followed them. I did not go
into the chapel as I’d planned, to kneel
and listen for his name: there was no need.
I saw it in his leaping flash of white —

the rain baptized me in his second skin.