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Unfinished Verse to My Father

June 19, 2011 3 comments

Here are a few thoughts in memory of my dad.

Unfinished Verse to My Father

To save money, St. Mary’s
no longer rings the Angelus bells.
Three times each day I hear silence.
– David Citino

The silence of absence can be deafening.
On Sunday evenings when we gather, we break bread, we tell stories,
I hear, see, feel his absence.
In the echo of voices,
his silence silences me.

Throughout my childhood,
he brought a new story home
every day.
As we chewed our baked chicken
and buttered our bread
he’d fill our imagination
with dangerous criminals, car chases,
and captured robbers.
And sometimes he’d still
recount those years in
New York, following Russian spies
to the gym, to the tea room, to the pier.
As he waxed on,
no one spoke.
If I wanted the potatoes, I pointed.
No one spoke.
The meal moved forward with gestures,
and we listened to the adventures of the storyteller.

Now the thundering silence of his absence
echoes through me.

His words wrap around my bones,
circulate through my blood,
and burn in my heart.
I hear them when I pray
over the meal.
I feel them when I reach
for the butter.
I see them when I look
around the table.
The silence of absence can be deafening.

Categories: Family
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