Praise song for my father

What I miss now is not the dark
it’s the light,
the cone of light from a table lamp,
my father sitting at the plain deal table
paying the bills in a shuffle of papers.
I see him drinking a cup of hot steamy coffee
staring out at the back yard—
it’s a September night
and I have to get up for school,
but I watch him—
running his hands through his hair
sipping the coffee,
as if he hears a kind of song
out there in the night’s dark,
a music only he remembers.
The night’s coolness
the sound of crickets
and the freights slowing
for the North Side loading dock—
helps him forget the bills, the work.
For a few moments
he sings the song to himself
and he’s far away.
Praise the early fall dark,
praise the cool night
that lets my father daydream,
singing his own song again.
Praise my father for the things
he gave up and lost,
and could not get back.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

A boy presents a hat to Pope Francis upon his arrival at the international airport in Trujillo, Peru, Jan. 20. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
“Just as the apostles faced the storm on the sea, you had to face the brunt of ‘El Niño costero.’”
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 20, 2018
Pope Francis greets the crowd before celebrating Mass at the Maquehue Airport near Temuco, Chile, Jan. 17. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
“Pope Francis’ statements...were a source of great pain for survivors of sexual abuse,” Cardinal O’Malley said in a statement released Jan. 20.
Michael J. O’LoughlinJanuary 20, 2018
 Pope Francis and Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski stand outside the presidential palace in Lima, Peru, Jan.19.(CNS photo//Mariana Bazo, Reuters)
“The degradation of the environment...cannot be separated from the moral degradation of our communities.”
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 20, 2018
The U.S. bishops had an unusually busy year issuing positive and negative statements about the new president, but some hoped for more decisive action against his policies.
Michael J. O’LoughlinJanuary 19, 2018