Morning Mass with Dad

We sit in blue upholstered pews
surrounded by saints made

of glass. The sun makes
shadows through them.

My father steadies himself
and stands at the opening

chords of the organ. He opens
a hymnal but upside down.

The book is fat with music
and bound by thinning thread.

He lip-synchs until he sees
his mistake and can turn it

right side up. He catches
the tail of the next quarter note,

but I know his hearing aids
have gone bad. His words

spill out, slippery marbles.
His eyes wander and make contact

with mine. A watery look,
uncontrolled. Salve, salve, Regina.

As the song ends,
he folds into the fabric seat.

After Mass, he reminds me he has
hydrangea roots and violets

in a cardboard box
sitting outside the garage.

These are the yellow flowers, he will
add, offering the stubby shoots.

They grow about so high.
He will pause, the clump of vital

dirt in his gloved hands.
It is so good to see you,

he says. Remember, you can part
the bulbs and make more flowers.

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