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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