Paternal Weather

Featured image: Sunday in the Park, by Kiley Brockway

It’s a dreary morning as I ponder going for a walk
popping ice cubes out of the tray to drop into the coffee I have made.
I bundle up, layers on layers, as I begin to enter the frigid Wisconsin air.
Stumbling toward the downtown scenery, my mind is flooded with thoughts of you.
Twenty degrees outside, yet I still hear motorcycle exhausts,
none sound as cool as yours did, but all equally as loud.
There are families on walks too – they seem happier than me.
The fathers pushing their children in strollers as I flip through songs in my headphones.
I wish it was summer.
My legs begin moving quicker through small crowds of people on the sidewalk,
I pass over the bridge as the smell ripples over the river.
Not the usual Milwaukee smell, instead the scent of Dolce and Gabbana;
The same scent that’s still on all your clothes.
I sip my coffee, thinking of how you would tell me I did not need it.
I wish this stroll would end.
Suddenly I am feeling you in everything:
The men shouting at passing cars, the Harley Museum in the distance –
Milwaukee is now more similar to you than I remember.
I skip songs; Taylor Swift doesn’t feel right.
Until Alabama streams in between my ear drums
I pause, at a standstill on the corner of Brady and Van Buren.
This walk is longer than I thought, maybe I don’t want it to end.
I resume the walk that is seeming more therapeutic than intended,
turning the corner only to see an eighteen-wheeler at the stoplight.
Great, just what I needed.
Instead of exploring my surroundings, I decide to look at the sky and
what do you know: sundogs around the sun.
Why are you doing this? Why am I doing this? Why did this happen?
I trek back to my dorm building,
you didn’t help me move into this one, I wish you could’ve.
I wish it was summer.
Until I remember that once it is summer, that marks a year.
I shed a couple tears on the uphill climb of Kilbourn
I can’t help but wonder if this was the way it’s really supposed to be.
Once home, I turn on American Pickers, spray your cologne, and look at photos.
I wonder how you’re doing and if you miss me too,
It seems that there was a paternal feeling in the air today.
What a terrible day to decide to exercise.
I pour out my coffee, it’s what you would’ve wanted –
I crack open a Diet Dr. Pepper, your favorite.
If only you were here to share it,
I wish you could come back.
I wish it was summer.
But I guess February will do, as long as it’s not May 31st.

Kendyl Cunningham is a sophomore Finance and Marketing major and a Creative Writing minor at Marquette University. This is her first writing piece that has been recognized, but she’s been writing since sophomore year of high school. In her free time, she likes to do other types of art such as painting, as well as woodworking!

Kiley Brockway is a student in the Marquette History and Digital Media departments. More of her work can be found @kileypluscamera on Instagram. She can be contacted at