Further Notice




Later, in the dream of having
bought a rambling seaside house,
in which just a few rooms had
been finished—furnished, decorated—

while others remained box-cluttered,
empty of design or even purpose,
I find a man I know is my father,
as he was at maybe thirty—slighter,

more fit, curled up beneath his long
coat, in a corner of one incomplete
chamber. When I wake him, he smiles,
but resists, gently, my invitation

to move down the hall to one
of the real bedrooms. As you wish,
I say, only mildly surprised. When
I turn to another task, he disappears,

as I suppose, to some other
unassembled room. When later
I return to hang a picture in
the corner where he’d been, it is warm

there, warm as a hearth. Then,
crossing back to find myself sitting
on my old bed’s edge before
the window, still flung open on

the cool autumn town where I
still live, I know, without fear or pain,
that he will only ever meet me
there, in that place made of memory’s

intentions, that other-world,
which derives from, steadily fills,
and eventually submerges this one.




Robert Farnsworth’s poetry has appeared in magazines all over the U.S., in Canada and the UK, in two collections from: Three or Four Hills and A Cloud (1982) and Honest Water (1989), and most recently in his collection Rumored Islands (2010) from Harbor Mountain Press. His work has won a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and a PEN. Discovery citation. In 2006 he was the summer poet-in-residence at The Frost Place in Franconia, New Hampshire. For twenty-seven years he taught writing and literature at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.

Read more Robert Farnsworth in TLR: Contents May Shift: “Prepared Instruments” and “Dog Ears



read next: Mark Doten “Judith and Ahmed: Story of a Friendship


“Further Notice” appeared in TLR: Contents May Shift (Summer, 2020)