I remember. . . (a litany for my father)

I remember my father’s hands when I was five and he was forty
I remember how my fingertips barely came up to the heart-line of his palm
I remember how I merely reached his bellybutton, and whenever I’d
ask a question he’d squat down so he could be eye level with me
I remember swimming the ocean with him, we were so far out at sea,
but so close to each other,
we were specs to my mother standing like a flagpole on the beach
I remember him letting me glide down steep pavement without training wheels
I remember him running for me as I wobbled, knees first to the black tar ground
I remember him calling my grandparents to tell them I got straight As in 7th grade
I remember his strong body leaning into the fence as I hit a homerun into the painted wall
of Trenton High—both of his arms went up, fists pointed to the sky
I remember him hugging me in my champagne gown before I went to prom,
“Beautiful girls are always good. Beautiful girls are always smart.”
I remember when he came up to my university and took me out for Valentine’s day
because even though he wouldn’t say it, he knew my heart was broken
I remember realizing that I only knew him as my father—:
he never let me in any other way…
((Until my 25th year))
I remember his big body abruptly coming to a halt on his powder blue huffy bicycle
I remember my gut tying up in knots because I thought he was in pain because of his knees
I remember looking from my father, to a large white house that stood in front of us
As silence separated us for a few moments
My father’s slow nod at the house brought us closer,
“Laur. My first kiss was in that house.”
He smiled and looked down at his feet.
“I was 11. Her name was Doreen.”
In that moment, as I learned about my 11-year-old vulnerable father
and how human he actually was
I knew he had opened a door for me
that had been closed my whole life,
and I will always remember it.

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About laurenfedorko

Aspiring writer. English teacher. Philosophy: know more about the world than you did yesterday and lessen the suffering of others.
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One Response to I remember. . . (a litany for my father)

  1. tjm1108 says:

    I really really enjoyed this piece. I personally love writing about nostalgic topics and getting the chance to take a glimpse into someone else’s detailed memories is really lovely.

    A few suggestions/things to consider:
    -(really nitpicky) a pet peeve of mine is when the same word or phrase is used consecutively, like when you say “came up” in the second and third lines.
    -I think that “we were specs” sounds better than “we looked like specs”
    -I don’t like the phrase “went erect”…I think it gives the poem a different feel and I’m not sure it fits with the rest of the memory descriptions
    -What changed during your 25th year? I think that’s something to maybe expand upon a bit to make it clear to the reader

    I love the image of your 11 year old father kissing a girl for the first time. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that our parents were ever kids.

    🙂

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