I miss my father. He has been gone for many years now. I enjoy replaying in my mind countless tender moments with him. For instance, the time he gave me a special pen when I graduated from college. He said I should use it to sign my books of poems—someday. I do still use it when I give readings and sell a few books (I would like to use it more!). Unfortunately, he passed away before any of my books were published, and never was able to know that I succeeded, in my own small way. Or the time he and I slipped out of church to avoid a dull sermon when I was nine or ten. We stopped at a donut shop for cream-sticks and cocoa, and very special father-son talk that imparted so much more than that sermon ever could. And I could go on…
In the following poem, by poet Jim Daniels, we see how a grown son shares a tender moment with his dear old dad:
Two months after retirement
my father is here, to get away
from 6 A.M. and his cup
of empty destination.
At a football game, we huddle
under his flimsy umbrella
talking about the obvious.
He brings me coffee
to hold warm between my hands,
a gift of no occasion.
When we rise for the anthem
I hear the rusty crack of his voice
for the first time maybe ever.
Thirty-three years of coughing
thick factory air, of drifting to sleep
through the heavy ring of machinery,
of twelve-hour days. In my sleep
I felt the cold bump of his late-night kiss.
I shiver in the rain
as my father sings me
what now I hear
as a children’s song. I lean
into him, the umbrella and rain
my excuse, my shoulder
against his, and I imagine my mother
falling in love.
Address correspondence and poem submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or Neil Carpathios, Shawnee State University, Dept. of English & Humanities, 940 Second Street, Portsmouth, OH 45662. (740-351-3478).