My Father is a Poem I’ll Never Write (after Cecilia Woloch)

surely I’m not         the only one
who remembers         how tenderness
first bathed your face a little bashful
like a preschool ballerina        at the recital
how it made you look younger
and at the same time fragile
children                 shift your perceptions
and surely grandchildren do the same
I watched you holding your new granddaughter
and thought               who is this man
he never smiled at me like that
and some tiny part         wanted to snatch her back from the ruse
I watch you               now that another grandchild
joined that first one         and your face has grown
accustomed to         surrendering to joy
your large dark hands weaving gentleness
your eyes crinkled         with kindnesses
and how they love you for it
you walk with us         to the new playground in the park
we let the children         run ahead
you slip                 your hand in mine
and I feel                       stung with grief
though I can’t say         exactly why
I try to leave the past      in the past
knowing we lived         the same history but wrote
different books                 and no amount
of page turning         will color it a fairy tale
you bear your tragedies and I mine
and both of us                   have regrets
both of us       carried our heart like a stone
but maybe         we’ve always been wrong
thinking we had to         shoulder forever that weight
maybe instead         we’ve been hollow
waiting                for the right time
to be filled


Sandy Coomer is a poet and mixed media artist. She is also an Ironman Gold All World Athlete, ranked in the top 1% of her age group in the Half Ironman distance. Her poetry has been published in numerous journals and anthologies. She is the author of three poetry chapbooks: Continuum (Finishing Line Press), The Presence of Absence (Winner of the 2014 Janice Keck Literary Award for Poetry), and the forthcoming Rivers Within Us (Unsolicited Press). Sandy is a poetry mentor in the AWP Writer to Writer Mentorship Program and the founding editor of the new online poetry journal Rockvale Review. She lives in Brentwood, TN. www.sandycoomer.com


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