Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Notes for my Father

it's been a month, or four weeks, or 678 hours.
i'm sorting my words, memories, piles of laundry
like laid out l e tt e rs in scrabble.

a dear dead dad makes for a peculiar puzzle.

March 15th.
4:27 p.m.
just yesterday?
just a moment ago?

the doctor pronounced you dead at 4:40,
but your wife and children wore a different watch.
the tick-tock of our clock waited for your last breath
in. out.

no exit.
life is marked with our eyes, ears, and heart
not a stethoscope.

gas is up to $3.88,
which is almost forty cents more than a month ago.
i'm just giving you an idea of how much can change in a month.

you asked too many times if i was heading to California,
and i kept the truth tucked tight in my bra.
(i wonder if you're an angel and can see what else i tucked.)

do you see it wasn't me,
but the ocean,
who changed her mind.

love is a wet hurricane, dad.
some days i wish i could hold on like you.
arms wrapped around one tree,
whipped naked by the wind, by the rain,

the night before you died i studied your hand
holding mom's hand holding your hand.
i held on
to my chest
and prayed it wouldn't burst.

at 4:40 p.m. you were still warm.

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