Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Smile From My Father


I closed the book on those early chapters,
since aging is about embracing what was,
letting go of what wasn't.
But I remember how you loved to tell jokes,
acting them out, making us wait, grinning, 
for the killer punchlines.

I got my love of music from you.
You played a mean sax, a mellow alto clarinet. 
When the band got grooving,
towards midnight, my mom said 
the walls and floors themselves
thumped and wavered with the beat.

Sometimes you'd get me up in the middle of the night
to sing and dance for your friends.
I'd do a song, a self-taught, shuffle-ball-change,
in my ratty old plaid bathrobe,
bow to the applause,
go back to bed,  face shining,
feeling like a star.
I would be discovered!
Just a matter of time.

I remember after you died,
when I was just fourteen,
I was standing in the aisle 
of Long's Drug Store, up at Capri,
and oddly, there you were, incomprehensibly,
behind the lunch counter, 
with the waitresses.
Impossible that there would be 
another man who looked exactly like you, 
wearing your clothes,
looking at me, and smiling.

I turned away,
because...it couldn't be you.
Could it?

And now I know it was.
You peeked in on me
to make sure I was all right,
offering your unspoken love
through your smile
from the other world.

- a little late for Father's Day, but here it is.

12 comments:

  1. WOW!

    This is one of your best, Sherry and that aside, you have actually narrated a story in strong visual terms.

    And me being a father, with the fondest remembrances of mine, but that would be a different story, in a different time

    Keep writing, Wild Woman :)

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  2. Wow! Lucky you to be watched over like that.

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  3. Reading through tears and smiles - Exquisite - <3

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  4. It's never too late to honor a parent. Father's Day can be any day. I love your memories here and can imagine him checking in on you. I wonder if he still does? Lovely poem Sherry.

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  5. Lovely, Sherry. Memories of my Dad conjure forth a plethora of tender, tumultuous, heartwarming, rattling and wistful reminiscences … that often leave me, somewhat bemused at the depths of my affection – so many years after he passed.

    You’ve captured that bittersweet, beautiful enigma with a luminous warmth and poignancy, that is the essence and soul of a great piece of poetry.

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  6. Very moving words Sherry ~ I would love to imagine that he still does...looking out for you, smiles ~

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  7. Sherry, I am glad you are remembering those pleasant memories. And very special that you saw him, after he died, at Long's Drugs! I am sure that this makes you smile still!

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  8. very spiritual touching piece mi amiga. sometimes i see mamasita in different living things. i speak to her often either in a whisper or in my mind. love avails us to do this.
    gracias for sharing

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  9. arrow straight to the heart, Sherry ~

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  10. you Saw him, and that's true...it's so comforting to be watched by a loved one...

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  11. This was sad and a delight also it is good to have such sweet memories. My died when I was 2 and I missed having a Dad.

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