“I’m sad to hear,” my friend writes
“that you have lost your father.”
She continues, proffering sympathy
like the casseroles that fill my refrigerator.
I read her well-meant words, fold
the note with unnecessary care, drop it
into the stack on the silver tray.
I have lost my father?
How careless of me! Where
on this suddenly askew earth could I
have mislaid him? Perhaps if I check
the premises once more, peer through
the clumps of dust-bunnies congregated
under various beds, shuffle clothes
in the crammed closets, lift
each cushion of the overstuffed sofa, perhaps,
perhaps I’ll discover him, plaid shirt rumpled,
but the lopsided grin the same, the balding head
gleaming as if waxed, the gold-brown
eyes still bearing their ember glow.
How could I lose my father? I admit
I’m careless, have to search
on an almost predictable schedule
for car keys, datebook. I misfile
checks, prescriptions, business letters. Bills
come up missing every month, only
to appear once I go through the scatter of papers
blanketing my desk. Family recipes vanish
like cards in the palms of magicians.
But lose my father? The things I lose
I have held in my careless hands, my forgetful
fingers. I held my father—I hold my father
close, close in my heart.
© by Sally Buckner.
Used with the author’s permission.