Sunday, June 17, 2012

Two poems for Father's Day

For Victor Gordon Roberts, 1933-1999.  I knew him as Dad, and sometimes Da-a-a-a--a-a-a-a--ad, but I found a wee note once that my grandmother wrote when he was a toddler, and she called him "our little DingleHoofer."

#1.

Peter’s father didn’t die

 yesterday but he was pretty sure he was having a heart attack and after all the poking and prodding no heart attack this time, let’s run some tests and Peter’s voice breaks and if he hadn’t been short of breath they never would have found it and what a close call and isn’t God good and I think of my own father healthy as a horse on Monday and DOA: heart attack on Wednesday no angiograms or close calls and sure He’s good and heaven knows I don’t want a predictable God, but what I do want is to sit across a Scrabble board and watch my father get all frowny and fussy when he’s losing and maybe he could tease my mother until she rolls her eyes and sticks out her tongue and would it be too much to ask for him to meet the grandson who carries his name but yes let’s thank God that Peter’s mother won’t grow old alone in a nursing home where no-one knows what she meant to anyone except maybe a daughter a thousand miles away who just for the moment has no idea what to say to someone who can’t believe how blessed we all are

(published in Rhubarb Magazine)

#2
Two Years After
 
I thought you'd be gone by now -
I recited Crossing the Bar at your funeral -
but last week, playing the piano,
I watched your short square hand stretch
to reach high C
 
I thought I'd lose the cadence of your voice -
I helped them carry the coffin out -
but Sunday morning, singing hymns in church
I heard your clear, tentative harmony
intertwine with mine
I thought I'd lose the comfort of your quirks -
I packed your clothes in boxes for charity -
but Tuesday afternoon, drinking black coffee at Smitty's
I smiled as you took a sip, made a face
added a spoon of sugar

I thought you'd be gone by now -
and your absence would remain an open wound
stung to crimson at each mention of your name -
but this morning, harvesting lilacs you planted
I inhale the sharp sweet ache of spring and know
you're not going anywhere.


Tuesday, June 05, 2012

double take

I was driving in rush hour today, and a man zipped past on a bicycle. 

I am always impressed by people on bicycles in rush hour.  They possess something I do not - courage, or a particular sort of insanity ...

Another man zipped past, or rather - came close, and then wobbled and nearly wiped out as he  -

TOOK A DRAG FROM HIS CIGARETTE.

Really???  What is there about trying to negotiate a bicycle through busy streets that makes a person think "What will make this better is a smoke." ??

I thought it was very judgemental of him to shake his head at me, at the next stop light.  I was only knitting at the RED lights.