Weekly Poem: ‘A.M.’

By Nick Norwood

My father’s shaving with the radio on.
He’s in the bathroom, the Trutone’s in the kitchen.
All of us crammed in this crackerbox
on Spicer Street, Wichita Falls.

The one tiny speaker strains and crackles.
The air fattens on Patsy Cline.
Ernest Tubb comes on and it starts to wobble.
Daddy’s dark face, mirrored back a foot away,

half-shrouded in a cloud of Barbasol,
cuts through a cirrus of steam.
In T-shirt and boxers he’s like a linebacker
in a phone booth. But his voice

when he arcs out a Bob Wills holler
starts near the ceiling and doesn’t level off
till it hits Oklahoma.
In six months he’ll be dead,

his oilfield Cessna accordioned into the flats
near Olney. But right now he’s happy,
almost completely himself, a half-assed
country singer, playing to a packed house.

         i.m. Richard Gaylon Norwood

Nick NorwoodNick Norwood‘s third full volume of poems, “Gravel and Hawk,” won the Hollis Summers Prize in Poetry and was published by Ohio University Press in April 2012. His other books are “A Palace for the Heart” (2004), “The Soft Blare” (2003) and “Wrestle” (2007). His poems have appeared in many journals, including The Paris Review, Southwest Review, Western Humanities Review, The Wallace Stevens Journal and Poetry Daily. He teaches creative writing at Columbus State University in Georgia.

Support PBS NewsHour: