Green Hills Literary Lantern

At Rest in My Father's House







Before the window, in a soft brown room

above the sun-porch, my boy-mind slept. 

The house faced east toward Fulton Creek,

and each day faded easily to black,

alive with the winy dark of summer. 


That was easy sleep, at rest in my father’s house,

so gentle an embrace, so loose.

I mistook his easy grace for disconcern,

his hold so still, as sure as his feet

upon the earth, a love as ignorant as gravity.


That was my last real rest, in that dark

comfort of a silent, calloused love

that would not bear a fool, where night

was drawn away from my thrice-patched comforter,

and dawn came bright and pale as an open palm.




William Jolliff  grew up on a farm near Magnetic Springs, Ohio, and now chairs the Department of Writing and Literature at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon.  His poetry and criticism have appeared in West Branch, Northwest Review, Studies in Short Fiction, Appalachian Journal, Southern Humanities Review,  Midwest Quarterly,  and other journals.  In his off-campus life he writes music as well, and his song “The Laughlin Boy,” as recorded by Tracy Grammer, was the fourth most-played song on American folk radio in 2005.