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.
|Purchase a framed print of this poem.
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.
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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