February 22, 2012

And He Shall Dance Again: A Poem for my Father by Bev Hamel

In Loving Memory
William Augustus Alderfer
July 1, 1921
February 17, 2012

And He Shall Dance Again

My father and I were connected by a long distance cord
of a slim white paper cigarette,
A nasty habit that oddly comforted me
as once a month arrived,
a slim white envelope
bearing his handwriting,
tidy, neat and even strokes
like ripples on a pond
mailed from Pennsylvania
to Carolina, where cigarettes
were half the price.
I fed his addiction,
a ruse to keep his letters
binding him to me.

Pictures in my mind,
scatter in slow motion through
a kaleidoscope of colors, where
I see him young with hair
untouched by grey,
tall and strong,
my anchor in the wind.

I am a little girl again -
Take me for a ride daddy,
and he lifts me up into the air
high above his head
I will never let you fall, he says,
higher still he thrusts me to the sky
Now just reach for any star,
they’re all yours,
then taught me how to make them mine.

I went away to gather tiles
to build the mosaic of my life,
minutes vanished into days
years withered into air,
I did not see him bent and weak,
nor slowly drift away.
He will always be my hero
connected now by a long distance cord
of billowy clouds drifting in the daytime sky
and when the evening sky turns dark
we will dance upon the stars that he made mine.

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