My father has his arm around Jane,
his second wife,
on the gray front porch.
They are smiling, dressed
for summer in white short sleeves.
I am the oldest daughter
who is holding the camera
in front of their beach house,
my young son beside me
not in the picture.
All afternoon we sit in chairs
under a maple tree's shade.
They smoke their cigarettes
and I try to keep the talk going
of this summer's drought,
a niece's marriage, their new internist,
Andrew in my sight down
where the blue sound meets sand.
At night over plates of shrimp,
my father at the table's head
smiles often, nursing his one drink,
telling jokes and old stories.
His hair's gone all white,
his face still smooth and ruddy.
I think it is so much easier
for him to love my son.
Later when we go to bed
Dad leaves an upstairs window open
and a small light turned on
so if we wake up in the night
we'll remember we're at his house
on the Connecticut shore.
Beth Paulson's poems have appeared nationally in over a
hundred journals and anthologies and she has received three Pushcart Prize
nominations. Beth lives on Colorado's Western Slope where she teaches writing
workshops and co-directs the Open Bard Poetry Series. Her fourth book, Canyon Notes, was published in 2012 by Mt. Sneffels Press. Visit
her at www.wordcatcher.org.