THOSE WINTER SUNDAYS
Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.
I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house.
Speaking indifferently to him,As my feelings every Father's Day are always contradictory and disjointed, this didn't help. Or perhaps, helped greatly. I don't think about any of my fathers, I think about my children. Then I forget that two of them have children of their own, and their proper focus is on those girls, not on me.
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?
Whatever criticisms they might deserve, all three of them - my biological father, the boyfriend my mother almost married, and my stepfather, did indeed do things for me that I never noticed, unthanked.