Monday, May 3, 2010

for my dad

Sometimes, Dad, I still
want you to carry me
on your shoulders,
running like you did
when I was four.
Days like today, on
on which I feel
smaller than my five feet,
eleven inches. Your massive
frame bore my littleness.
I remember
after a tough day at
kindergarten I looked for
your rough-hewn stubble,
knew the warm feel against
my childish cheeks as
well as I knew the silence
of our woods -
knew our wrestling on the floor
of our little red cabin,
knew it was all I'd wanted
or even needed then.
I remember finding my voice,
high-pitched toward
the rafters, falling
to your chest.

(Sometimes I think of Mr. Gates
driving by in his truck,
the way I pretended
to chase him. We'd scowl
at each other seriously,
and I'd hide between your knees.)

Now I wrestle with myself:
my bag full of anthologies,
text books, collections of
death notes. My voice
wavers now, sometimes,
when I don't know
how to be a man.
It wavered
then, when you tossed me like
so many potatoes in a knapsack,
crashing into your shoulders,
but I knew your warmth then.
We fished by the pond
in golden light.

Now flooded with memory,
I wish I could bury myself under
the sun that has set on
my childhood, in the days
when you tossed me,
caught me, carried me.
How if, for a moment more
I could ask you
how to tie a fishing line,
how to throw a baseball,
how to pray,
how to love my grandfather dying and raging,
how to love a woman;
how to listen with the
ears of a child. I'd be there
in our yard in a second,
running toward you.


  1. this is beautiful. i love it. and you.

  2. The length is gorgeous. The parenthetical put me in the location I see you making. So did the list. I love the list.