Franklin Countys First News

Poet’s Corner: A Poem for my Father

In honor of the five veterans who died yesterday in Maine’s veterans housing unit.:

A Poem for my Father

by Doug Rawlings

"Suddenly I realize that if
I stepped out of my body
I would break into blossom"
— from James Wright's "A Blessing"

My father stretches out before me
his lounge chair coffin off-white polyester
his ersatz death mask snoring softly
his fingers stumbling across his stomach
through the memory of some Chopin etude

It is a mid-afternoon in early July
a thunderstorm is blowing in from off
West Palm Beach
raking the lagoon
sending the mourning doves
back into the trees

I love you, I whisper
loud enough to pull him to the surface
He eyes me startled and scared
his breath catching on something he heard
something that may have been important

We exchange shy smiles
do not speak
I turn back to my reading
he to some meadow of the soul

where old men practice
the silent art
of breaking into blossom

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2 Responses »

  1. I love Doug's poetry. Thank you.

  2. A gentle and sweet poem, right to heart's smile.