I Remember Daddy

He was strong arms
warming & enfolding me in darkness.
He was hugging my mother
while I did dance & beg at his feet.
He gave me beer I hated
and played me pool holding me up to reach the table.
He was excitement blowing into a grey exsistence.
He was tall and dark and handsome.
He was distance.
He was coldness in a box.

He is the man, gone, whose books in my hands I hold
afraid to open lest the ghost of him leave me as he did.
He made this bookcase, and he made this cabinet.
He wrote with this pen in this notebook his weekly budget.

Yes, I remember Daddy.

My Father changed then most every day.
They came and went and never stayed.
They are strangers upon whose lap I sat.
They were men who left at evenings end.
I slept in darkness unwarmed and unenfolded.

I know Dad.

He is the man who regularly
drove from out of town to see my mother.
He is the man for whom my mother made us set the table
with matching table ware settings.
He is the man for whom my mother made Yorkshire Pudding.
He brought her candy and flowers and made her smile.
They danced in the living room.
He took us away from "all of this" and took us home.
He gave us peace and security
amid the bustle of four abandoned adolescents.
He played me music and took me to operas.
He danced with me in the library.
He told me jokes.
He ate my kitchen experiments without complaint.
He sent me to college and gave me a car
and helped me out of trouble.
He was patient with me while I bloomed late.
He taught me quietness of the spirit.
He taught me gentleness of the soul.

Yes, I do know Dad.

Carol T. L. Phillips
Wed 12 June 1991

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