My Father

lies on the same couch that he used to
only sit on, straight up as if the newsmen
might ask him to spring into action.

He used to work twelve hours a day making
ice cream from scratch. Then home, charging
around the lawn. Grass that had been mashed
flat he brought to attention then cut it off
at the roots, snuffing it out,

He took one vacation, looking at the water in
Michigan with one eye, turning at every little
thing, each sound a customer. We dined at
roadside stands, covering six states in a week.
He ate standing, like a man on the run.

I saw him again last summer, four months past a
coronary. He rested in bed, gathering strength
for a nap, hands behind his head,
eyes full of ceilings.

:: Ron Koertge, The Father-Poems (1973)

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