Sunday, June 15, 2008

father's day

I have been fatherless for many years now -- though I do still have a wonderful father-in-law. My dad died from complications of bone cancer in 1975. He was just a little bit older then than I am now. (That's a sobering thought.)

Dad was a very quiet man. He wouldn't be badgered into giving us our way. But never for one instant did I doubt he loved me, though I don't remember him saying the words until during his last illness. The way he was an anchor in my childhood comes through in this piece I wrote some years ago.



Scratch 'n' sniff yellow
aroma of angel food and jelly roll
when you wake up
Hurry down to claim bowl and beaters
dripping with batter to lick.

Scratch 'n' sniff white
perfume of just-washed frozen
diapers softening beside the heater.
Laundry makes Mom tired. "Read!" you call
as she dozes off again, mid-story at nap time.

Scratch 'n' sniff green
storm-scrubbed morning air.
All night you lay watchful, sprawled on pull-out
living-room couches with brothers and sisters
and pinched eyes shut against
lightning that took flash after flash
picture through the window
to thunder's applause.

Scratch 'n' sniff charcoal
diesel fumes, body odor
of the pulsing Massey 55.
You’re standing beside it asking
"Daddy, what do you mean, 'We'll see'?"


Here is a photo with my handsome daddy taken after the birth of our second set of twins. I am the oldest and there were six of us before I turned four. (With three more after that, you could say he had a full quiver. And no wonder my mom fell asleep when reading us stories!)


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