Monday, June 16, 2008

Every great and absent father


The Appropriate Place

I add the “e” to dad and look at the word.
It sits the page like a raven with its hands folded.

It is not a notorious county in Florida.
We arrive at it long before then.

Every great and absent father has traveled this way.
His bags are tattered; his shoes leak soul.


He is an amulet of invention from the time he keeps
stolen in his pocket to the manicured miles of smalltalk.

Somewhere there is a clear glass overrun with streaming water.
This is his life, uncatchable, wasting precious like sweet fear.

I add the “e” to dad and look at the word again.
It has not moved a left-gloved inch.

It is not the final word, or even the first.
We arrived at that long before now.

Joseph Gallo
June 16, 2008



Blogger Joseph Gallo parried...

The images used for this poem were taken at my father's funeral in June 2005. There is a commonality, good or bad, that bonds fathers everywhere.

We repeat successes as often as mistakes. It is the way of unknowing and a proven blueprint for regret, which every father seems to carry to his end.

Some of us carry our fathers in the end, as I did, if we're lucky. We carry all they failed to be for us and all they were enough to bring us into this world.

Thus do sons bear the standard of rejoice and regret for their fathers and the long procession of fathers before them as well as for those to come.

I think this poem is about that as much as it isn't. There are fewer who know more little about the work they create and parent than poets.

So it is with this one. You will glean far more from it than I ventured to convey. In poetry, we call that success.

June 22, 2008 11:20 AM  

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