Wednesday, January 12, 2011

arrangements for the gathering

Your doorbell rings

I wring hands I’ve

been sitting on

God knows how long

more feet tread the carpet

more eyes study my face

looking for a trace of you

or maybe an inkling of

some long-lost solace

deep-set in brown-black eyes

we improvise conversation

all the while gazing down

the darkened hallway my

thoughts lost on spent medicines

and floral bouquets

and making arrangements

for the gathering and

how to make it one you’d praise.

I stand around people shaped

the same as you and I

they reminisce, shifting sorrows

into long, writhing sighs

while I cannot do a thing but smile

think about throwing balls

and fishing songs

and swimming pools long ago

your hand guiding my shoulder

steering me surely down the sidewalk

the jubilation in your voice

when I’d call- your “Hey, Bo!”-

that may be the thing I’ll miss most

I’ll take your spot, though

in the recliner chair, remember

I’m only there to keep it warm,

for you.

* * *

This poem was written for Pa- Dudley Lee Tankersley. My grandfather, my role model of fatherhood. We got to be with him during the last few years of his life, and they were great years. I'm so thankful for that time. PUBLISHED in the August 2013 Edition of The Rag, Albuquerque, NM.

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