Daddy

Holding the letter in his hand, looselydaddy
tears sliding slowly down his cheek
“Damn it Dad, this doesn’t say anything
no ‘I love you’ or ‘You meant so much.’”
Staring beyond the letter into the past
he’s hearing his father’s voice in
phrases from other pieces
sifting carefully into place…

“When am I going to get another piece of cheesecake…”
“I always wanted a Cadillac, even when I was a little boy…”
“Mongiah! Mongiah!”
“Go honk yourself, idiot! You got another lane!”
“Aunt Hattie was strict, very strict, but I still loved her…”
“I was ten when I stopped going to school.”
“You should have seen me trying to jitterbug.”
“So the barber walks out right in the middle of my haircut.”

And there’s his old man
looking for an extra dessert
urging him to eat
yelling at traffic
telling stories about his childhood
the aunt who raised him like a son
while he yells at the traffic

Another time his dad is grasping
for an important, lost memory:
the accident that almost took his life
instead he always finds a special memory
of how he bumped into a girl
and not much later, married her
some memories fade in and out
grizzly D-day war stories
a twelve year old delivering milk
driving from New York to Chicago
getting lost in a blizzard

But now, there aren’t enough or them
and there are tears falling on the letter
because there aren’t enough memories
to say the words that will never be said.

Daddy

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