Monday, June 16, 2008

sometimes you need more than words...a belated father's day post/poem

Two Sundays

He hangs our swing as I sleep and doze, pretending to read and write

from the hammock. I watch my husband wind slithery white rope around

long tan arms and haggard bark. Measures, levels, measures again. He gives me

a lemony kiss when he climbs down the ladder, his teeth

still cold from an icy gulp.

Our daughter scurries around the tree, fingers popsicle-sticky, bare heels

kicking up thyme leaves and grass clippings. Papa’s puns send her

giggles up into whirls and spirals. The black cat lifts his nose

from his cool dint in the lawn, sniffs, and blinks his yellow eyes

at each arc we make through the air.

Almost thirty years earlier, my father winds taut brown rope around

muscled forearms, saws cedar seats, and chooses the perfect tire. He says little,

presses lips together until they almost disappear behind his clipped beard. He gives

gruff directions, but his blue eyes sparkle. This is how so many

years go by, such still lips and flashing eyes, before I understand.

Tonight our little family travels those three decades back

in only four miles. My husband picks winking blackberries, our daughter

spins between splashing and chattering. I sit with my father, four bare feet

iridescent in the pool water. We don’t talk about those silent years,

but he is quoting lines from the poem I wrote. I say nothing, and smile.

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