Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A poem for my father on his 70th birthday.



"Frogwood," you'd say
as the frothing trees zipped by -
spring harbingers, improbable as my conception,
each bloom an Easter crucifix.
The grey velvet seat cradled me,
forehead still warm
from the iron,
a little goose
taking a gander:
the perfect creases in your slacks,
jingle of change like a music box
you carried with you.
Our birthdays were approaching -
I could tell from the way the azaleas
ruptured into flame.
My 28 a cringing synesthetic stoplight red, but
yours: cool blue lucky 13, ever
the prime of your life.
"Beatselt," you said.


Clutch and lean:
it's what we did
hugging mountain roads
through riot summer green.
I hooked my thumbs in
your beltloops,
sucked in the secret
scent of sweat and leather,
sang into the windthrill
roaring through my visor
- could you hear me? I both
hoped and feared you would -
clung to you. watched
your shoulders
Adolesced -
contempleted my death
a thousand times,
and never yours.


Once we took a twilight train
through the snow.
You let me sit next to a boy
I liked.
Halfway along,
the lights in the car flickered out.
You sat alone
and let me be
and let me feel just


I forgot until yesterday
that you had a pet sailboat.
You kept it in the garage
like a turtle in a shoebox;
I crouched in its musty canvas sails
evading nightmare marauders.
But why did we never
take it out to sea?
When I finally set
sail around the world,
you can come
and we can take turns playing
captain and first mate.


At the bottom of the driveway where
I once went careening down
in my four-wheeled bouncy seat
mad with wild delight,
and where you bled
and broke three ribs under the weight
of your bike -
I lie like a little corpse
in a white nightgown,
Ophelia drifting in a river
of stars.
Orion whispers navigational secrets,
takes aim at the cheshire moon.
It is a long way back
to the warm-lit kitchen
where you are pouring my cereal
and waiting
for me to deliver
news of the world.

- Kate Croft


fweakijam said...

Kate...Your poetry still paints a picture; your words turning vivid memories into a masterpiece that's obviously not so hard a hill to climb...It's right there in your heart.

What a lovely gift.


fweakijam said...

I wish the world could read this through my eyes.

fweakijam said...

Kate, I loved your birthday poem. It brought back so many memories from the last 26 years. Some made me laugh out loud, some teared me up. Thank you for the thoughtful trip. You are very talented with words. Please write more. I love you. Dad

juju said...

Kate, What talent to use words to beautifully relate such sweet memories of times gone by.