I Was My Father

A Poem.

I was my father: a bald, full-lipped man
with absent eyes, hoarse throat and mouth of wit,
studied heresy at the cabin hearth,
and bought the Times the first day off the ship.
I was my father; fought the kids who mocked
his poor wild pinching of the spitball class,
missed him like a tooth when I awoke
into adolescence, swore, harassed,
to outfather father: wish, work, win
what he had never dared, or lost. O,
but I was not my father, shrugged away
from his: “I know Job is very strong.
But a man can longer live with Psalms.”
I was not my father; could not hope to say
to my wife the famous solace: “Why
cry? Who knows whether he who found
it, did not need the lost purse more than I?”

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I Was My Father

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