Today's poem is by Rich Smith
Father, you would not be surprised that I lose
at cards. I get very drunk, and I lose at cards.
You are not dead and you would not be surprised.
I also make many modern mistakes. I know that I am
in love with the idea of love and not with someone.
I make mountains into molehills and then regret
the loss of mountains. I deny the sexual potency of ambition.
I remember calling you while we were both boiling
eggs at night in our kitchens to tell you about this.
You said, Son, we have both been clouds
in the rooms of undressing women. I found
a photograph in your dresser of an unfamiliar
woman wearing a grey t-shirt standing
beside a newly asphalted road bordering unmown
Midwestern grasses, and I ached for dull,
hometowny spring. You are not dead
or clearly dying, but I am going through your stuff.
I want your leather-bound Superman comics, your Kingston Trio,
your bamboo Buddha. I have been in love
with two women who look like the one in your photograph.
I think I have only seen you three hundred times.
I am twenty-four and you are sixty-five. I need
a box spring and a bed frame if I'm to be at all
comfortable in the coming years. Suddenly, it is embarrassing
not to own a table. Today I replaced the burnt-out light bulb
in the bathroom with the light bulb from the hallway,
which used to be the light bulb from the bedroom,
which used to be the porch light. To what extent,
father, does this sound familiar?
Copyright © 2013 Rich Smith All rights reserved
from The Southeast Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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