Sunday, June 15, 2008


Peeling an Orange

After years of no words
you came for the weekend,
prodigal father spotted now
by sun and age, hair a beach
of white sand, bare in places.

This is what's real, you said,
when it was time for you to leave.
Not meaning we should forget the past,
just, this is what's important now.

I reached for your hand
across the oak table with its
nicks and scratches, our shared
history and separate ones etched
in each knot and blemish.

This is what's real:
I pulled your car around so that you
might avoid the flight of stairs,
watched your knee nearly
give way on the one front step.
Carried your bag, tucked it in
the trunk, gave you a kiss.

You waved, then I watched
your car disappear below the hill,
street empty, birds silent.
Went inside and peeled an orange.
Let the pieces drop to that place
where our hands had been.
Savored the sweetness.

- Irene Latham

For you, Papa. Of course. Happy Father's Day!

"You can't cross a sea by merely staring into the water."

- Rabindranath Tagore (1913 Nobel laureate for literature)

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