My father the greenhorn

November 25, 1996|By Tillie Friedenberg

The sky turns gray, rumbles. There he is

at the door of my classroom, holding out

one of my galoshes in each hand.

He announces my name, oh dear God, like

the referee at a wrestling match. His butcher apron

hangs out of his jacket and from my desk

I can see the spots. My teacher stares,

the kids giggle. ''I want,'' he says,

''she shouldn't get wet.''

I take the galoshes. I cannot talk,

keep my eyes on the floor. ''Be careful,''

he says. ''Watch the cars very careful if it rains hard.''

In fall he planted jonquil bulbs

to bloom in April,

dug in bone meal to feed them.

Heedless as bulbs

soaking up rain

is the child in the face of love

delivered by the father's hands

whether awkward, or like my father's,

full of grace.

Pub Date: 11/25/96

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