|Apr/May 2013 Poetry
Artwork by Clinton McKay
My Father the Poet
Dad, you climbed my icy roof one January
to redirect a TV antenna.
You taught me how to fix a pipe
that had burst into a forlorn song
of sobbing late one night
and how to open my locked front door
without keys one Christmas Eve
when no locksmith on the planet
would answer the phone.
But Dad, when you read my first book
and asked if I would teach you how
to write a poem
I froze. Dad, it just happens.
It's like a newspaper hitting
your front door,
a big thump that makes you want to open up.
There isn't a manual that can show
how to put one together...
You looked puzzled. "I want to write
something for your mother,"
you mumbled sheepishly.
You had never asked for help.
You had never written a poem,
just as I had once never hammered
a dock together. "Don't worry,"
you said, "I bought paper
and there's a typewriter
in the den."