The Innisfree Poetry Journal
by Sonja James
My Father’s Retirement
My father gardens, feeds the birds.
He does a bit of taxidermy
then walks to the post office each day.
Sometimes there’s a note from me
and a clipping of my latest review.
Nothing else happens in his quiet life
until the evening sky holds him captive with its beauty.
Tonight scientists predict a meteor shower.
He’ll wear a helmet, just in case.
Someday when the cicada is the noisiest insect
and you don’t know what to do with the quiet
thudding that is your heart,
you hold it again, that little bouquet of dried flowers,
a gift for your paternal grandmother,
and see how your great uncle her brother reached for it—
a profusion of tiny purple and yellow blossoms—
while exclaiming “Women has the prettiest things.”
How he held it gingerly in front of him,
turning it this way and that, and how you blushed
with pride at the distinction of your gender,
knowing that you somehow impressed this rough man
with your femininity. He, who spent his days
hunting and fishing and trapping with the other menfolk
from the mountain.
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