Father’s Day 2020

Father always kept fresh flowers on the table
And a refrigerator full of condiments
Strange syrups I didn’t understand
He taught me how to drain the rainwater
from the candlewicks
Told me how they would hiss
and sputter next time they were lit
He would shout out song lyrics at any given moment in the house
He had lots of books but always fell asleep when he tried to read them
The stereo was always on when we came home
He taught us how to draw funny faces on the photos in the newspaper
And seemed equal parts annoyed and impressed when we did it
He often seemed like he couldn’t make up his mind
And would linger in the doorway when we went to bed
Like he’d forgotten what he wanted to say, forgotten
he had ever wanted to say anything at all
He rarely, if ever, talked about God
But you should’ve seen him the day he fell
through a sudden tear
in the trampoline
While we sat—scared—on what remained
of the mat, looking down
at Dad
lying on his back in the dirt
and smiling

-lhw (adapted from a lengthy text to self from 6.16.20 rediscovered 17 months later)

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