Father

I think of you in a lounge chair

writing in your spider-fingered notebook

whiskey glass close by

your cigarette burning down to ash.

 

I think of you in the bathroom mirror

bare chest, veined biceps

you’re fitting a new blade in your razor

carefully scraping under your moustache.

 

I think of you in a Zionist meeting,

in a yellowing letter to a newspaper

you were the shortest man in the room

warning of Herr Hitler in your British accent.

 

I think of you in your blue and white Oldsmobile

throaty horse power, foot flat on the floor

uphill on Loch Avenue passing all the traffic

your head barely higher than the steering wheel.

 

I think of you in your engineer’s clothing

those same old grey pants, that same old herring-boned jacket

walking around the lathes and milling machines

as they pulse white milky coolant on the metal.

 

I think of you in your garden, burning rubbish

your shirt stained with sweat, your brow sunburned

I think of you at the dinner table

helping yourself to another slice of pink roast beef.

 

I think of you yelling “why isn’t the fucking room ready”

in a small hotel after a day’s drive

I think of you trying to rule the world

until in the end the world ran you over in disdain.

 

I’m older than you were when you died

it was all so long ago

Why do I still think of you?

Little man with such big ideas.

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© Johnmichael Simon

2016

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