I have stood here and read
every single Father's Day card
in the store and none of the messages
say what I feel this year.
Well, you know I appreciate
all you taught me,
all you sacrificed to feed and clothe
and shelter our family those years
you worked day and night and
came home smelling like grease.
The sentiment of gratitude
has spewed from every single
Father's Day card I ever bought you.
"I remember . . .":
the time I almost let the tractor slide into the creek;
the one time we all stayed overnight in a motel;
church every Sunday when you wore
those corny black shoes
with the tongue that slid up
and snapped on the outside.
You know I treasure the memories;
the other cards have made that clear.
"You've always been there for me,"
even at times I didn't especially want it
or deserve it; that is why
it is hard for me to imagine
a world where you are not;
a world devoid of the presence
that has always risen above me
like some massive rock.
The cards have all said that too,
and yet, those other years
I never agonized over choices
as I am doing now--
because I know
this may be my last chance
to pick the perfect card
and I so want to get it right.
Footnote to Sooby, Pooh, and Bootsie: Guys, this poem is about your great-grandpa Ted. I wrote it the night before he began his sixth round of chemotherapy in his battle with lung cancer. I hope that, when you grow up, you will be able to remember him a little bit. He thinks you are pretty special.