In the Present Tense:
Portraits of My Father
In the most personal of all her books and the most wrenching to write, Myrna Stone chronicles her father's long, charmed, and often difficult life to its inevitable end.
In the Present Tense: Portraits of My Father was a finalist for the 2014 Ohioana Book Award in Poetry.
I Drive Him Back to His Vacant Childhood Home
and creek he fished, the ice and smoke and out houses,
and the house itself, its clapboards and kitchen
ell, all look, he swears, the same. He grouses
a moment at the ramped-up wind and cold
that keeps us in my car, then starts a full-bore
description of how he and his siblings, bold
as ravens, watched through gaps in the floorboards
their parents making love. "Weren't you about
six?" I ask, but he's pointing toward the parlor.
That's where my mother was when she bled out,
he says, then tells me what he told his brother
that day, busy tossing jacks at a skillet:
Basil—Mommy's dying—you've got to be quiet.