my dad was “handicapped.” that’s what we always called it.
he had a brain tumor on his pituitary gland.
…a couple brain surgeries at the VA…..
left him halfway there in some ways
and twice there in others.
he was sitting in his brown la-z-boy,
doing crossword puzzles,
using #1 berol mirado bright yellow pencils.
a box of those pencils was the usual fathers day gift.
mom might get him a new crossword puzzle magazine.
when i was younger it seemed it was something to be considered,
something to be thought through and parsed,
this handicapped father.
there was the inward search,
the grasp of the unusual,
the simplicity of the every day.
now, it’s been 24 years since his death?
has it been 24 years?
and my memory is not as crisp as a thin potato chip.
but more like a soft buttery waffle
a glass of milk
an electric pencil sharpener on the glass side table.
a clip board clutched close.
the vision of half of one eye.
size 14 triple E slippers.
jaw clenched stare.
i’ve been so busy thinking about being a pop on pop’s day’s past,
that i tend to let those 24 years
fade the memory of my own odd pop
funny gentle kind and gregarious
i don’t even know what a good pop does?
but i know what they don’t do.
a good pop doesn’t yell much
or become too disappointed
they don’t lie
and they don’t pry
we want to provide
we want to encourage
we want to listen
and we want to be loved
so maybe i do know
what a good pop does.
maybe i do know