Today's poem is by Ken Victor

Portrait of the Family Without a Father
in memory of Leah Shapiro

At the sea's edge, the seaweed slips forward on thin
fingers of sea water, nearly beaches before sliding

back into the sea's palm, neither staying nor going, but
adrift on the tide's loosening grip. A prisoner on parole.

Where the father went, no one says. One morning
he was nowhere to be found. Leah made eggs anyway.

Eggs and some toast she spread with marmalade jam before
the children awoke. Admitted, years later, she always knew.

At the seaside those summers, my father taught me
how to head out in the surf, his big belly leading the way.

The prow of a ship never returning to port. Catch
the waves, my young son. I'm either staying or going.

Never just here, fathers. But in the middle of deciding.
Let the women practice constancy. We're always visitors.

Copyright © 2004 Ken Victor All rights reserved
from Beloit Poetry Journal
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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