Evenings at the table with my father,
stewing over algebraic equations,
chemical reactions, my young life
sloped toward science and healing.
He didn’t recognize, nor did I,
how I fingered letters
the way the devout touch
prayer beads, that I held them
up to my ear to hear the music
they made when strung together,
a child rearranging alphabet blocks,
balancing them into a fragile
tower that spelled out something
I was too young to understand.
I can’t say how we know
we please, without hearing the exact
words, but I knew. His pride in me
slipped into my hands with soup spoons
and Yardley’s soap as I fed and bathed him
during the last months of his life.
I often wonder if he is surprised,
living as he does, in the spaces
between words, there among
the pages of my books.
“Choices We Make When We Are Too Young To Make Them” by Lois Parker Edstrom from Night Beyond Black. © MoonPath Press, 2016.