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Blue Eyes Singin’ in the Rain
Mary Jo Balistreri


He cruises the dusky streets for the first time
in six months, my eighty-nine-year-old father,
survivor of brain surgery and heart attack.
He leans over the wheel, a man happy in control,
excited to drive, impatient to sing.
I sit beside him, applaud such zest and drive,
but anxiety nestles with hope in my chest, the night
ahead, his return to the stage.
    Dad hums the song he plans on performing,
makes an occasional comment.
     After he parks the car in handicapped,
we sit for a moment, watch the setting sun.

He walks to the stage and grabs the mic. Waits
with the leisure of a professional. Friends shift
in their chairs, sit up straight, Dad’s success important
to them, too. And then Ramblin’ Rose winds its tendrils
into the cracks and crevices of the bare room, climbs
upon warm laps, flushes color into pale cheeks,
where in sync and song, a scallop of scarlet blooms and shouts.

Silence absorbs the last note. For a second, no one moves,
everyone moves, stands. The guys whistle. 
Dad lifts his face, his shy, sweet smile like rain
in the desert, and the karaoke club drinks as if they
were waiting just for this—this rising from the dead,
this miracle, this lamb of a man, this tiger.

© by Mary Jo Balistreri.
Used with the author's permission.

Mary Jo Balistreri is the author of two books of poems published by Bellowing Ark press, a chapbook published by Tiger's Eye Press and a new book, Still, scheduled for release by Future Cycle Press in September 2018. She has been learning and writing Japanese forms for several years now and finds the haiku, tanka and haibun a wonderful way to be in the moment. Mary Jo is a member of Grace River Poets, which presents readings for schools, churches, and women's shelters. Learn more about her at



Post New Comment:
So happy to have read this.
Posted 07/04/2018 07:58 AM
A lovely poem and tender tribute, Jo! Beautiful imagery and vivid descriptions.
Posted 06/18/2018 03:33 PM
What a wonderful word portrait and tribute to a lovely man, . How lucky the daughter how extraordinary the man. ♡
Posted 06/14/2018 10:35 PM
I can picture this perfectly. "The karaoke bar drinks as if they were waiting just for this?" I love this line.
Posted 06/14/2018 02:18 AM
Lori Levy:
Posted 06/13/2018 09:03 PM
Yes Jo. Of course this beautiful poem is yours. Love it!
Posted 06/13/2018 07:45 PM
Wonderful! "a man happy in control" describes a universal kind of person.
Posted 06/13/2018 04:17 PM
Beautiful poem, Jo! Made me happy this afternoon.
Posted 06/13/2018 01:21 PM
wendy morton:
This singing poem.
Posted 06/13/2018 11:59 AM
This poem made my day. Well done.
Posted 06/13/2018 11:00 AM
Sharon Waller Knutson:
What a powerful, uplifting, inspirational poem for Father's Day Week. It reminds me of my father in law who rose from the dead after we took him off life support at 94 and lived another year to play volleyball with his great grandchildren and baptize his great great granddaughter at church and my father who operated a bookstore in his 80s after a heart attack and broken hip.
Posted 06/13/2018 10:59 AM
Oh, I could almost hear him. Lovely way to honor your dad, Jo!
Posted 06/13/2018 09:08 AM
michael escoubas:
Wonderful tribute, Jo. Thank you.
Posted 06/13/2018 08:24 AM
Larry Schug:
I love poems that tell a story with a moral, though what the moral is is to be determined by each reader. What I get from this beautiful, meaningful poem is "live long and prosper".
Posted 06/13/2018 07:55 AM
So very heart rending. Thank you.
Posted 06/13/2018 07:54 AM
Kay Sanders:
Beauiful, on so many levels. Thank you, Jo.
Posted 06/13/2018 07:52 AM
Tears flowed. What a beautiful poem
Posted 06/13/2018 05:30 AM

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