He was the essence, the seed, the unique ancestral root
From where my brother and I came, and our children too
He wasn’t tall, handsome, clever or, Oh, so bright!
But his calloused hands were caring when he touched me.
He was a plain man, simple as an essence is meant to be.
He never learned to dunk a basketball, putt little white orbs
On manicured green lawns, or bat and catch street baseballs.
He was too busy for that. A hard-working family man he was,
Not a Hollywood-type hero or frenetic rock star.
He was the kindest man I ever knew, though I never told him that.
And never, while he was alive, I called him, to my regret, Dad!
My brother and I buried him in Tampa the winter that he died,
Under a makeshift green canopy buffeted by a freezing wind
The obese pastor in black belched his breakfast into the Book
Indifferently crass; so we told the pastor to go; we buried Dad.
At night, sometimes, I listen to the wind and remember my Dad:
His forehead icy cold on my lips in the funeral parlor,
The mumbling pastor, the green canopy flapping in the wind.
And I hope someday my own children will think of me, too, like that;
And hearing the wind, stop what they are doing to remember their Dad.