My father studied clouds
but for months at a time
there were none.
At sundown he hung up his hat
and took off his boots.
He washed his face and hands.
Mum moved the hose and chopped the vegetables.
I fed the chooks and closed the gate
behind the last stupid bum.
Night rose from the east,
easing its purple cloth over the sky, in increments.
Later I lay on the lawn with my father.
He studied stars too—not their meanings or placement,
rather that they were there at all
like so many glittering grains of dust.
Rain came eventually
and the grass grew taller than men.
The cattle were sent to market and the bills paid.
All the children grew up, left home
and there were no more worries.
Perhaps that’s why
he didn’t wait long after that to die.
He’d finished his studies.
He’d paid his dues.