Sunday, June 16, 2013

To, From and About Dads

A reposting of poems collected in 2011 re: fathers, on Salamander Cove :

Sons and Fathers – Brighton Beach

In the palm of his hand
I tried to be perfect and I was. My two sandled feet
the width of his one great hand – my soles rooted
to his life line, mound of Venus, mound of Mars.
Held high, an acrobat stunt, or an offering to the Gods,
I was not afraid of him but perfect in his hand, face, smile -
our same curly hair -
my baby coat buttoned high with one round collar scalloping
my fat cheek. I grew and he had to use two hands
to keep me – one foot in each hand – his balance was my balance.
I grew and he used his feet on my hip bones
to suspend me above him.
I grew and his hand supported my back to push me forward.
I grew and he placed his hands on my shoulders to slow me down.

We have the same ears but it was his brown eyes that held me
brought joy, sorrow, sharpness and obsidian anger. Taller, I grew,
still trying to be approved, to be perfect, always wanting

to be held high again held that sacred again
but I know
if I stood on his hands now
I would crush him.

~ ~ Suzanne S. Rancourt

From Muddy River Review Issue #3 (Fall, 2010).  

"Father and Son"
Photo by Rosemarie Hayes of LifeUnfoldsPhotography

Today's Lesson

I do not have much
of my father left:
a hat, a coat, and some gloves.

They are not him though.
They belonged to him;
they have learned his shape by rote

(tried and true is best)
so when I wear them
I can feel him again and

again. Again, that
is the key word here.
And it should not be a verb.

~ ~ Jim Murdoch

Published in  This Is Not About What You Think   (Fandango Virtual, 2010).  


When I saw
the photo of myself
I squirmed
for only a moment
then looked straight at it.

I saw a gray man
with a crooked smile,
my father’s face looking back at me,
sporting a half-mouth grin
I’d only ever seen in one photograph
from Korea, green before first combat
in his uniform,
his whole platoon around him,
his hair short, his eyes bright,
nine years before my birth.

In the picture he’s smirking
as if he knew even then
that his son would someday come
to a similar moment of recognition
and amused resignation,
a moment of humor
before a terrifying future,
that my face
would inevitably become his
in spite of all my years of being certain
that if I just kept my head down
and did everything he never did,
I could keep such a thing
from ever happening.

I wonder if he knew
that it would take this long.