When I saw my father for the last time, we both did the
He was standing in the doorway to the living room,
waiting for me to get off the telephone.
That he wasn’t also pointing to his watch
was a signal he wanted to talk.
He’d say a few words. I’d say a few back.
That was about it.
Next door, workmen dumped new gravel on the driveway.
we didn’t know how to connect to make small talk—
there didn’t seem to be
any other possibilities.
So this was special: when a man’s dying,
he has a subject.
sprinklers started coming on. The gardener’s truck
appeared at the end of the block,
then stopped, parking.
He told me he wasn’t suffering.
He said he kept expecting pain, waiting for it, but it never came.
I said I was glad for him, that I thought he was lucky.
Not people we knew anymore. New families,
families with young children.
The wives stood on the steps, gesturing or calling.
no embrace, nothing dramatic.
When the taxi came, my parents watched from the front door,
arm in arm, my mother blowing kisses as she always does,
because it frightens her when a hand isn’t being used.
But for a change, my father didn’t just stand here.
This time, he waved.
Like him, waved to disguise my hand’s trembling.