“I just want one more summer,” my father said
as he lay upon his winter bed
and I held his hand as though
I could prevent him from slipping away.
“I love you, Dad,” I said though I could scarce
force the words from a throat scratched with tears.
He had no such trouble.
Liberated by the shadow of time
from the verbal prison of his generation
he said: "I love you too. I love all my sons very much."
Four sons. You could say he had sired
The son born by the father, the father borne by the son.
Such is the circle.
I held his hand,
once the outrider of his vitality,
now purpled by cold and blotched with age
and I thought about the history of that hand,
meting punishment, giving guidance,
saving my life on more than one occasion.
That hand had never wavered
in the duty of its love.
I held your hand, my father,
and I thought of all I longed to give you
and achievements worthy of
bowling green braggery.
But most of all
I wanted to open my hand
and find there
one more summer
to give you
before you go to where
I hope it is always summer.
The poet wishes to acknowledge Valley Micropress in whose pages this poem first appeared.