—for Anthony Lombardy
Because it seemed to some that he was slow,
Or smiled too much at many simple things,
One might have thought him dumb. It was
The way one waits for what the mailman brings,
We listened for his step and watched that door
That said his overcoated form was back
From where he went when we were five and four.
We saw that he had more than just a knack
For lifting us aloft or playing horse.
Both broad of back and smarter than a whip,
My father never took a college course.
And yet, I learned his learning was my light
By kissing, like a bird who bent to sip,
The stubbled cheek he'd turn to me each night.
2001; originally printed in Rosebud Magazine.
Reprinted by permission of the author.