A novel in verse … and the writing thereof
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Buried Treasure

It had been that way for a long time,

     but not always. Sometime, way back, I had had

a different father, one who laughed

     out loud. Things were noisier then, voices raised, but

     not all the noise was yelling. Suddenly I wondered

Had he always looked so shabby? These were the suits

he’d always worn, worn well,

but now they looked

well-worn, and he looked tired in them,

     and thin. Measure me the distance, then, between

     lithe and thin, and I’ll show you

     my father, then, and now.

The image in my head: this same suit, but new, and he

     just home from work, sets his briefcase down, sneaks towards

     my mother, reading by the radio; he glances at me on the couch,

     where I look up from picture books, his finger

     to his lips, I answer with my finger pressed to mine,

     pressed hard, to keep

               the laughter and excitement in;

and coming up behind her, he kisses her hair—she jumps,

laughs—“Oh, you!”—and lifts her head for another kiss, which

I cannot see, but he was bent over

the back of her chair

     for a while.

What he didn’t know: that she would hurry,

     every day round five, to that chair, and to her book;

she’d round me up, “Come on—your dad’ll be home,

     soon; get ready,

               so he can surprise us.”

Each gave me a secret to keep safe;

neither knew that I had two.

Each of them included me, so I

contained them both; they had, the two of them,

made me, but only I could make them whole.

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