For fathers’ day I give you a reprint of a poem from a couple of years back.
Song for my father, II
“Say Ahh,” you said
as you pressed my tongue down
with the back of a spoon.
I can still taste the cold metal,
feel your warm hands, impossibly large
palpating my neck.
“No need to bother the doctor,” you said.
Your eyes showed no hint of bother.
So we went back to the bathroom
as I watched you set a new blade in your razor
hold a warm cloth to your face
lather yesterday’s whiskers.
I wondered where the old blade went.
A small slot in the back of the cabinet,
a mystery, like your newly shaved face,
betraying little of what was beneath.
Your copy of Cecil’s looks old,
The cover worn, the pages yellowed.
But you, a younger you on every page
Underlines, margin notes
expressions of wonder.
Maybe your face was stoic then
but you loved the mysteries
I can read it in every pen stroke.
It must have been a fountain pen.
I’ve always loved fountain pens
But I found them on my own.
You handed me your stethoscope
the rubber stiff with age
and said, “Go for it”
a smile breaking out,
cracking through an old psychiatrist’s
“Daddy, my throat hurts.”
Sure, I think,
as I hold the spoon against her tongue
and palpate her impossibly small neck.
“I think a kiss will fix it,
no need to bother the doctor.”
She seems to agree.