When I put my hand to my cheek and drift off
into reverie or shaft of sunlight
I am exactly my father’s daughter,
as if his daydream were having a daydream.
It’s in this little gesture that I find
myself making more and more these days,
pausing for breath as time speeds up,
that I see how close to the tree
the apple fell after all—or when I catch
my profile in the mirror, and there’s
myself in him,
soft in our shared flesh;
slow-moving, witty, large-nosed,
with those tribal love lizard eyes.
It was given to me early
that a man would be my mirror;
we inherit our stories,
but choose how to tell them. Mellifluous
listener he is, fumble-fingered, as I am.
In this too-little-fathered
world, I had a father, have
one still: and this is how I know
whatever I know of love,
gratitude, and honor.
From See How We Almost Fly (Pearl Editions, 2009)
Used here with the author’s permission.
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Alison Luterman lives with her husband and five feral cats in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she teaches poetry to schoolchildren and essay writing to grown-ups. She also performs in an improvisational dance theatre troupe and sometimes writes plays, as well. Alison has worked at a variety of jobs in her life, including HIV test counselor, free-lance journalist, drama teacher, and massage therapist. She has a particular passion for the rights of neglected and impoverished children.Learn more about Alison at www.alisonluterman.com.
lovely poem, beautiful tribute
Posted 06/13/2011 04:44 PM
Ditto to dotlief's words. My father never once told me he loved me. I never for one second doubted that he loved me deeply. . . he taught not through words, but through his warm and wonderful being.
Posted 06/13/2011 09:55 AM
Beautiful! Your poem made me remember and miss my father! Thanks.
Posted 06/13/2011 07:04 AM
What a beautiful tribute to a father. I love "It was given to me early, that a man would be my mirror; we inherit our stories but choose how to tell them." Those words really resonate with me.
Posted 06/13/2011 06:02 AM