Tag Archives: dad


As soon as I heard
that they’d set
my father’s headstone
I went to see it

with my carelessly curated stack
of memories and imagined moments
that should have happened
but did not

wrapped up tight like a deck
of worn index cards
with the essentials written
in carpenter’s pencil on each one

rubber band
holding it all together
so they would not come undone
in my pocket

elastic so old and 
blackened from age
that to attempt to open the pack
and sort truth from lies from wishes

would have meant losing
the whole of it to wind
or vagaries of chance 

I’d hoped to leave them
on the base of the marker
then turn and go 
but here they still are 

stubborn and uncut 
back in my junk drawer
thick writing in crude lead
unfaded cryptic but clear

I will touch them now and again
whenever I go fishing
for a tool for some stubborn home repair
far beyond my capacity to achieve


Sandy’s coming up from the bottom of the street,
calling for her dog again — fat graying pit pull
who hardly seems the runaway type, too slow
to be hard to catch, too big to wriggle through
a fence; maybe the gate’s broken or too easy to open?
I’ve never walked down to see although it happens 
once or twice a week that I hear her calling the dog:
“Busan, BUSAN!!” An odd name. Of course
no way to know why she chose it. Maybe given
by a past owner. Maybe she got the dog long ago
in Busan. I look across the street and see the dog
standing behind a car; it stops its slow escape
and turns to look at Sandy lumbering toward 
the top of the hill. Soon the leash will be reattached
and they will turn back to the insecure yard 
at the bottom, where Busan will hang out in the sun
and Sandy will recover from the effort
of getting them home until the next time it happens,
when the chances are good that I’ll be sitting here
still, mystified by Sandy, Busan, and their patterns
that lend themselves to incipient insanity
as they lead you to expect different results;
for instance, right now I’m saying “Busan” 
out loud, tearing up, and thinking
of my dead father, the veteran, yet again.

Buck Model 110

Going through my father’s
things. I’ve been asked:
what do I want? I try on rings,
turquoise, silver: all
too small. Watches —
he broke watches all the 
time and saved every one.
I want none of this, but
what of his old Buck folder,
lock and joint still tight, blade 
still sharp,
resting ready in 
his dresser drawer

in its wear-softened and molded 

black leather sheath?

I own a much newer one,
same model, with a sheath
as new as the blade; brown
not black, not yet worn in
to be anything other
than generic. He used to say 

no Apache man 
should ever be
without a knife. 
On rare occasions
he would ask 
to borrow mine;
if I happened 
to be
without one in reach, 

he’d shake his head. 
Times have changed and while
I am rarely knife-free
I have changed, no longer do I
wear one openly on my hip for swagger
and ease of use. I take the knife,
postponing the decision
of what I should do next:
wear his, wear mine out 
loud and proud
until my leather 
looks like his, or
put both away because
he no longer should have any say
as to what kind of man I am?


Got to where
we needed to go
but no farther.
Satisfaction wasn’t there
when we got there; neither
was peace nor any other 

What was there? The rattle
of an empty wheelchair
in the wayback of the SUV
and bags upon bags of clothes
never to be worn again.  

Knew we’d get there
hoping for denial,
anger, bargaining,
depression, acceptance;
all those long-debunked 
phrases, all those pseudo-
scientific words.

What was there, what is there instead?
Numb awakening every night at 2:35 AM
to images of the wheelchair rolling
slowly down its accustomed hall
with its customary passenger
dressed in all the usual Patriots finery
he could wear;

nothing else.

Left Of Tired

From where I am
I can see tired
far off to my right.
I am well beyond the left of tired

and all I want is to go home,
but where is home?
Cannot see it anywhere.
Maybe it has moved and is still 

farther to my left. My father
might be somewhere over there.
I know he is no longer to my right,
back in the well rested world.

I have just come from there; it is 
emptier right now than I would like
so I remain leftward bound,
with no sense of what may be there.

— for my father, 9/15/1932 — 2/3/2022