Saturday, August 27, 2011

A poem in remembrance

I see you in your short maroon robe, a little blurry eyed with sleep,
handing our stockings on Christmas morning;
And walking through the garage door, sweaty and dirty,
slinging your pack to the floor after a 50 miler.
And all dressed up in your navy pinstriped suit, tie too tight,
on your way to church.

I see you leaning against a hospital wall, paile and silent,
watching me labor to give birth to your granddaughter
And walking ahead of my on a trail, one knee making you limp,
your arms slightly held our from your sides and moving gently.
And down on the braided living room rug, bracing on all fours,
while I run and jump and practice flipping over your back.
And you never tire before I do.

I watch you pound noails, pencil behind your ear,
calculations in your head for the next task, even as you work on this one,
And sitting on my couch, bent slightly forward, hands outstretched
as you make your point, "The think is...!"
And standing at the kitchen sink washing dirty dishes while the ketttle whistles
that it's time for another cup of instant coffee.

I see you in your recliner, moccasined feet up, eyes half-closed and nodding off,
until suddenly the chair springs forward, "Oh crud, did you see that lousy play?" you ask whoever's nearsest at hand.
And driving across the state, rubbing your hands across your face to stay awake,
rolling down the window and leaning forward to grasp them over the top of the steering wheel while the whole car slept and no radio could reach out in the middle.  And only you were awake, You and the stars.

I watch you praying at dinner, reading to my children, hugging your wife,
I see you kissing me hello, driving me across town or the state, or the whole world if I'd needed you to.
And staying up late just to talk to me, calling me up with no more to say than "I love you." And knowing those words were more than enough.

And I see you, gray faced and bloating, tubes running in and out, in a hospital bed.
"Can I pray for you, Daddy," I ask.
"Oh yes!" you answer, and you lift your hands from beneath the warm blanket to grab mine hand hold them tightly.  As I pray, I open my eyes to see your face.  But you aren't looking at me.
Eyes closed, you look heavenward.

I watch you, tears at the edges of your face, say good night to me.
"I want to keep touching you," I say.
"It's okay," You answer. "Go ahead.
So I hold your hand until the ICU nurse tells me I must leave.
Then I say, "I love you Daddy, I'll see you in the morning."
As I walk out the door, I turn back one final time to look at my Daddy's living blue eyes,
And you are looking at me.

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