Charcoal

Every Saturday, her dad
Would grill in their backyard;
With charcoal hot on cinder blocks,
While she kept watch and guard.

And savory and sapid-sweet
Were those times without care;
Until the day the grill went cold,
And her dad wasn’t there.

See, no one lit those coals again,
Although she looked in vain;
In bars and underneath soft sheets
She sought that taste again.

She could not find her lost charcoal;
Her desperate search – no trace –
Till she woke in a small white room
With charcoal on her face

Real, Love

(While at the hospital two years ago for the birth of our new grandson, I spoke to a father whose daughter was undergoing chemotherapy. These were his words.)

So I cannot cease,
Nor can rest,
Knowing you’re in pain –

I would do and I
Would undo
So many things now

My child: if I could
Somehow trade
Places with you here —

My heart lies open:
Why can’t I
Save you like I should?


8-22-2015

Wayward

“I’m sorry,” – I heard that,
But then the rest was hard to hear –
“I should have told you months ago,” –
And my mind raced with fear

“Bye,” her sad voice said,
And then the voicemail ended there
To leave me hanging on
And questioning exactly where

My stepdaughter was now,
And what had happened, knowing she
Had once again resurfaced
From her life of misery

Her drug addiction demons
Having driven her away
And us not knowing where she was
From day to fear-filled day

And now this message. Broken-hearted,
Aching for my girl
Who, cast away, unhappy
Languished somewhere in the world

When softly, gently I heard knocking
On my study door
And opened it to find her there,
Much as she was before

As she threw arms around me,
And as many tears were shed

“I’m home now, daddy,”

“Welcome back.”

Like my heart –

From
The
Dead


 

(“Wayward” – 11-9-2014)

A Memory

Here’s my daughter and her friend
Waiting for the wave to fall;
Moments just before it hit —
Laughter, soon to peal in scads

Days I wished would never end –
Blue-green sea, and sky o’er all:
Having fun in all of it —
With girls (now women) who still needed
Dads

the truth, it breathes but briefly

the truth, it breathes but briefly on the march,
the eyes, they scan so quickly for the dream;
you sat, ensconced, beneath the tree of peace,
the years of fear now ripples passed away.

take love from off the dresser where ’twas left:
(if you’ve the heart to grow a little smile)
then send me news, from underneath the tree
of how you’ve grown, and how your heart has leapt.

for valentines and bears and father’s tears,
for mysteries that flow, to flow again;
the truth, it breathes but briefly on this earth —
but love is all, as it was all… back then