Sunday, June 20, 2010

13/38 the gift

what do you want to do next dad asked
was there ever a question
i dazzled on my day at shul
like the cantor i'd become
i took over at the torah servicce
boy soprano plus a new octave
they could hear me in the kitchen
lecturing leyning loving

i had earned the question i thought
i put it in dad's head or else
he plucked it straight from mine
let's go to Duke's house i said
as if Dukey were a neighbor
not ten neighborhoods nine exits eight months away
it was decided
not like there was any question

seven of us squeezing
lap to cheek to thigh to handle
of the sky-blue Pontiac station wagon
if we could breathe in any deeper
when the wagon turned on Tulip
Street, the gasp would cause a vacuum
never had arisen any question
would he be there

or at the ballfield

at the warehouse

visiting a canine lover

a new family

yet a golden form came into focus
lighter, smaller than i had remembered
at a distance smaller than the bulldozed
track above our house already fallen
speckled like the sandstone blocks in sunlight
head cocks growing recognition
Duke? says dad not totally believing
answer bounding through unbounded bonding

rang out the breathless wagon
your family has found you
in a flash of synchronous emotion
the back door opens as the dog flies inward
never was so much dry cleaning created
never has the bill been so forgotten

still the puzzled fearful look
of the children living there
shades the moment - still the shift
from dad to patriarch commanding
half against his will
we'll come visit you i promised
yet another vow
i couldn't

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