Sunday morning, 3 a.m.

(written in 1976)

I sit and drink hot chocolate
and think about my father
and wish that he was here
so we could talk

Does he love me even though
my life seems to be a model
of all that frightened him?

I’ve divorced my husband
burned my bra
slept with men I wasn’t married to
(refused to with the one I was)
lived in sin
smoked pot
quit a good job to become a writer
(and then I haven’t written much)
and my mind is still
through his eyes

(I even took EST.)

the American Legionnaire
the rifleman
the Marine Corps sergeant
the democrat
the undisputed boss
feared, respected,

he wrote poems for my mother
played the harmonica
loved railroad songs and animals
and sometimes he would cry
almost undetectably
at sad songs or on
Memorial Day.)

In the days before he died
he told me there was
nothing wrong with crying
now and then.

He wiped a tear away.

I held mine back.

he was a railroad man
and once a boxer
and even a magician once.
(He’d swallow ping pong balls
at least a dozen
and I’d cry because I thought
he’d choke)

He loved me.

I felt it, knew it,
never questioned.
I was his baby.

I was nineteen when he died.

I feel it now:
he loves me still.


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