portion of the artwork for Kevin Casey's poem

Clearing His Throat
Kevin Casey

He’d been gone almost a year when I saw
my sister again at Thanksgiving.
As we caught up over coffee she said,
The way you coughed just then sounded like Dad.
Mine was a common allergic reaction
that I’d carried since childhood, bundled
with its matching sneeze. His was a quarrel
he’d begun with his Luckies when they first
came to loggerheads at the age of fourteen.

But how fitting that two people—who
for fifty years spoke languages wholly
foreign to each other, down to each sputtered
syllable and their rising, colliding
intonations—should finally come to share
at most this rasping, meaningless gesture.
And how comforting he should speak through me
with no more than this harmless ahem,
this courteous request for attention.

Return to Archive

FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 50 | Fall/Winter 2017