Friday, March 6, 2009

Regrettably yours

She remembered
the curve of his back
as he split wood, each sharp smack
breaking right through,
severed trunks surprised
into bite-sized pieces.

The effort showed
only in the raised cords on his neck,
the set of his jaw. Garden gloves
he wore, paisley, and a thin coat
though it was cold enough
to ice the whiskers of the cats
and strip the fine hairs indelibly
from the tips of their ears.

He always had a grin
for her, somehow, anyway,
when he spotted her watching
through the kitchen glass. Later
she wondered how
she could have lied to the other kids
and kept a straight face

when they asked her
if he was her real dad, or a fake
like everyone else’s.

If only they had seen through to
the green of his eyes
flecked with brown, the twist
of his smile, lopsided; how
he came in with an armload
of wood, shoelaces untied
old shoes shuffling, right foot
pointed out slightly more
than the left,
they would have known
the truth.

Rachel Westfall
March 5, 2009


Linda S. Socha said...

Ah Rachael....
Beautiful...knowing the truth

Kyddryn said...

Truth is so subjective, anyway.

I adore the mental picture I got from this, sugar - made me smile, a little melancholy, a little wistfull...even as some part of my mind was looking for darker meaning. Sigh.

Shade and Sweetwater,

Faith said...

Rachel, you always use details so well -- "the curve of his back", "the thin coat", "fine hairs"... so many. And the kitchen window -- I feel as though I am looking out that window as I read. You have this magic way of creating the scene so perfectly. All the imperfections in this dad that grow into this stronger truth...the words reach out like a strong hug. Bittersweet at the same time.

Woman in a Window said...

Uhhh, this is gorgeous.

How is it that things add up in the world? I come here and you, a surprisingly new person, and you have bits and pieces of me. How can that be?

Paisley gloves. Well, I'll be damned.

Robert said...

lovely piece..:)

Catvibe said...

Rachel, my favorite part, can you guess?
it was cold enough
to ice the whiskers of the cats
and strip the fine hairs indelibly
from the tips of their ears.

I loved the vivid imagery and the taste of love between he and her, and in this case, did the truth really matter?

christopher said...

How I Got My Real Dad

My father, hero
of the war, was thrown away
by my mom. She had
her own five reasons.
A few years later she brought
home a footballer,
played in the Rose Bowl,
a former Marine, they all
were former by then.
I asked for his hand,
so they married and he raised
me, my real step dad.

Karen said...

Beautiful portrait of them both. I love the details, and like Faith and Cat, I really love these lines:

it was cold enough
to ice the whiskers of the cats
and strip the fine hairs indelibly
from the tips of their ears.

But beyond that, I love how you have shown that childhood/childish world where we become ashamed of our parents. It's universal.

Moanerplicity said...

Excellent work here, Rachel. It reads like a character study; a mini novel, in a choice few words.

Have a great weekend, poetess!

Snatch JOY!



Cherie/ Butterfly Dreamer said...

Wonderful poem. I love the visuals I get from it.

RachelW said...

Linda, thanks... I wonder which is the truth?

Kyddryn, exactly! Truth is subjective. I think there's no darker meaning here, just that tension between loving a parent and feeling embarrassed by them, then feeling guilty about the embarrassment.

Faith, Robert, Cherie; thanks! :)

WiaW, I have the same reaction to your writing. I think we are two fragments of the same scattered light, or something like that.

Cat, yes I was delighted when the cat's frozen ears presented themselves for this one!

Christopher, that is just beautiful; I wonder what the world would be like if we could all choose our parents. Or if children could all choose their step-parents, instead of inheriting them in the most disempowering way.

Karen, you've put your finger on the feeling I had when writing this!

Moanerplicity, always good to see you drop by. Thanks for your kind words!

fourwindshaiga said...

I could see this scene as I read your poem-very beautiful!

Poetikat said...

Yesterday's a blur (that hour really makes a difference to me). I could have sworn I commented on this - I know I read it. Like Catvibe, I loved the lines about the cat-whiskers etc.
"a fake like everyone else's" excellent.

My dad had a real knack for embarrassing me with his antics.