My father would have been 98 this year. I wrote this poem about him several years before he died, and it still expresses much of who he was to me then. Later, even after his death, I added some more dimensions to my knowledge of him. He was above all a gentleman of intelligence, thoughtfulness, and impeccable refinement. But it was what I saw or sensed inside of him that has always provided my truest bond with my father.
The old man’s hands are clean.
His nails, highly polished, shine
like shells upon the beach.
His wrinkled skin is smooth and pale,
his once-bright eyes now seldom smile.
People hurt him long ago,
and now he waits alone to die.
He is my father.
And I cry.