Voices

December 10, 2006|By Ted Kooser | Ted Kooser,Special to the Sun

This wistful poem shows how the familiar and the odd, the real and imaginary, exist side by side. A Midwestern father transforms himself from a staid businessman into a rock-n-roll star, reclaiming a piece of his imaginary youth. In the end, it shows how fragile moments might be recovered to offer a glimpse into our inner lives.

- Ted Kooser

"My Father Holds the Door for Yoko Ono"

In New York City for a conference

on weed control, leaving the hotel

in a cluster of horticulturalists,

he alone stops, midwestern, crewcut,

narrow blue tie, cufflinks, wingtips,

holds the door for the Asian woman

in a miniskirt and thigh high

white leather boots. She nods

slightly, a sad and beautiful gesture.

Neither smile, as if performing

a timeless ritual, as if anticipating

the loss of a son or a lover.

Years later, Christmas, inexplicably

he dons my mother's auburn wig,

my brother's wire-rimmed glasses,

and strikes a pose clowning

with my second hand acoustic guitar.

He is transformed, a working class hero

and a door whispers shut,

like cherry blossoms falling.

Ted Kooser was U.S. poet laureate, 2004-06. Copyright 2004 by Christopher Chambers. reprinted from Folio, Winter 2004, by permission of the author.

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