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To Know, For Sure [Dec. 20th, 2004|04:28 pm]
[Current Mood |melancholymelancholy]

Here's yet another "old" poem--I seem to be re-visting many "old" things lately, especially today...


The Possibility of This

-for Tom, Christmas 1998

When I was my niece’s
age, my dad was turning to ash
in a hospital bed, the fire seeping
through his body, a cigarette
left in the ashtray to burn. As I watch

Sara sitting on Tom’s lap, posing
for a picture, I’m amazed
how sure she is of his love, how
unconditional it all seems, how
given. Her memory of him

won’t end with this flash, it won’t end
up being a clue for her, as photos are
to me, proof of a simultaneous
existence, of the love I see
in the way he cautiously picks her

up, the unspoken acknowledgement
of trust and mutual admiration. I wonder
what it would feel like to know, for sure
the warmth of my father’s hand
on mine to know it physically,

as Sara knows it. Maybe I did,
and that feeling drifted away as he drifted into
a coma, in that quick split
second, when he lost consciousness,
the possibility of this

memory rose like smoke over a fire
dampened, the coals burning
an orange light behind
my smile, the picture