June 11, 2013

Poem: Toys

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Deaths seem to be hanging in the air this month. Two of my friends are dealing with the deaths of their fathers. One of them loved their father, the other not so much. Lots of conflicting emotions.

It’s been many years since my Dad died. I still miss him, especially around Father’s Day. This poem was written the day he died (October 1, 1994). I didn’t have a phone at the time, so Mom called the police. They knocked on my door that morning and told me to call Mom since there had been a family emergency.

Toys

They said you died this morning.
And yet your presence fills this room–
I can see you clearly at my graduation,
laughing at my bizarre jokes
over dinner at Calhoun’s,
and smiling (finally) at my
choice of boyfriends.

I have not tasted homemade
macaroni and cheese since
I was six when I was
presented with a conglomeration
of leftover cheeses and noodles.
I promptly presented my bowl
back to you.

You ate all of it, with a smiling face
while we laughed–
and secretly swore-off homemade
bachelor’s cooking.

The night air is cold now and
mosquitoes light on my arm, biting–
even as they did on yearly camping trips
from here to lost and back again.
I have never seen so many ‘Jesus-Christ!’ drivers
nor passed as many gas stations selling maps.

Here, gathered among the living,
you are alive–
telling me orange doesn’t go with argyle
and not to blow dandelion seeds across the lawn.

I clean my room now–
without prompting from
black bag cleanup crews
that would obliterate loved, unused toys.

I loathed giving away,
much less throwing away
loved items–
until seeing the inheritor
cherish them as much,
and pass them on to another place of joy.

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