Missing My Father

Since You’ve Been Gone

I stand in the kitchen, pour olive oil
into a warm pan on the stove, then garlic,
the aroma rising like yeast, making me
want to call you—as I did during
the decades we lived apart—me
in the navy in California, you at your
hotdog stand in Florida. If you answered
drunk, I’d make an excuse, “Someone’s
at the door,” so I could hang up quick.
But if you were sober, you might tell me
a story: like when you were a kid, riding
beside your buddy in the back of
DiRienzo’s Bakery truck, bringing
bread to the neighborhood folks, your
spaghetti-thin frame, the inhaler
in your jeans pocket, all those loaves
still warm from the oven on the shelves,
you took one and packed it like a snow ball,
and as the driver skidded around
corners, you took bites from the dough.

You’re not there anymore to answer
my call, but I have your recipes, and
your grandchildren, each with your skinny
arms, they sit at my table, pasta filling
their plates, fresh bread in their hands,
they bring the red sauce to their mouths.

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2 thoughts on “Missing My Father

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