Sunday, November 09, 2003

My Dad

My Dad
has been gone a long time now.
Died when he was only 52 but
loved me and my sibs through and through.
There was nothing, literally,
he wouldn't have done for us.

I was his oldest.
Don't think of him so much now,
it has been a long time.
But just now I did
after thinking of my own kids,
young adults
and beautiful.

I miss all the times I could
have explored my dad's mind.
An indian boy from Oklahoma
a scrapper, a lover.
Bright, tender, tolerant, but explosive,
he would have told me

He was in the WWII Navy,
when he was only seventeen.
And was never exposed
to anything like the dharma.

But in his forties, I remember,
he used to rise an hour early
and sit on the couch
in the dark,
in our living room.
silent for an hour,
his legs folded up and behind him.
Then he'd go to work.

I would sometimes walk through
forgetting, at 4:30 am,
and be surprised to see
in the pitch black
and the silence as he sat,
the ember on the end
of his cigarette
from across the room.

What was he thinking
and doing
for so long?
in the dark.
That indian boy of the 30's,
that father and provider?

But I couldn’t ask.
Too busy with my own life
and figuring out who
I was going to pretend to be.
He was too great a force.
I was afraid,
And distracted.

Like my kids now.
Wonderful, but they don't ask.
Like kids everywhere.
Like I was.
Distracted by their need
to find a place, their time,
their friends, an identity.

I missed my dad
and the opportunity,
distracted by my life
just the same way
I miss the moment now,
distracted by the past and the future.


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