Thursday, November 24, 2005

FOR ALL THE GOOD BOYS AND GIRLS

I'm starting my Thanksgiving day here, at MAAP, with thanks to Julia for making it a good place to be. The poem that follows is a new one that reflects my ever-changing perspective of my parents and grandparents. Things change and things don 't change, and in the end, a lot of what seemed to matter so much doesn't really matter at all.

Father

At fifty-nine, my father
sleeps in his childhood bed
while his mother lies on the couch,
dying.
He’s a good boy, she whispers
in a voice I no longer recognize
but need desperately to hear

and I try see him the way she sees him
but struggle past the white beard
balding head, body thick
and battle-weary after failed diets
and failed marriages and self-inflicted loneliness
and neglect of his health and children and their children
and work that no longer fulfills him.

A good boy, she says again
with a sharp squeeze of my hand
and I nod my head, her grief also mine,

for the child who is my father
and her only son,
the child refusing his mother’s death
the way a four-year-old stonewalls broccoli,
and I realize what she’s asking me to do
is forgive him.

- Irene Latham

2 Comments:

Blogger J.B. Rowell said...

I am thankful for this poem - powerful and memorable, especially the stonewall of broccoli. And thanks to you Irene, Happy Thanksgiving.

10:09 AM, November 24, 2005  
Blogger Rae Pater said...

This is very nice. Enjoyed the read.

12:06 AM, November 27, 2005  

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