I wrote this poem last May for a contest. Because it had to be unpublished for the contest, I didn’t post it here at the time. I wasn’t a finalist, so now I can do what I want with the poem. I decided to post it today, which is the 26th anniversary of my dad’s death. This is a poem about some of my memories of him, some good and some not so much.
Of Eggs and Mad Money
He would have been ninety-eight tomorrow
but instead he’s twenty-six years dead, huh.
I can’t enjoy my birthday month without
imagining his vast grin and lanky
walk, long fingers run through that black shock of
hair that never thinned even to the end
when the asbestos finally took its
toll. Come see me he said when we last spoke.
Why didn’t I hear the urgency in
his words and in his voice and go? Instead
I planned visits like I held all the
time in the world when truth be told there was
none left for him. Now all I cling to are
memories of plunging toast in sunny-
side up eggs because that’s how he did it.
Of eating der Weinerschnitzel mustard
dogs he knew I’d hate, because I refused
to eat at home. Of roasting marshmallows
over a campfire he built, until they
reached perfectly bronzed outside, gooey good-
ness inside for s’mores. Of cards
in my airbox at college carrying twenty
dollars of mad-mad money and a note that
said Don’t tell your mom. Of him dropping me
off at church on Sunday and for youth group
on Wednesday even though he never stepped
inside the chapel himself. Of the book,
the Bible he and Mom gifted that year
with his perfectly lettered inscription
inside the front cover, love Mom and Dad.