Staring out at the clarity of the dawn sky.
His face is obscured by the swirls
Of sweet-smelling cigar smoke
And the years of distance between us.
He is wishing, I suppose, that the car was a rowboat,
That I was one of his fishing buddies
And that the day was not Father’s Day
But a regular Sunday, any old Sunday,
Which I would usually spend with others.
It is too late for him to teach me
How to listen to the earth, how to distinguish
A robin’s song from a finch’s or from my own voice
In its small attempt at expression,
Not unlike that of the mourning dove’s
Starting low in the throat and not climbing much higher.
My father whose eyes narrow in the sun
Teaches me how to widen spaces with silence
And how to burn bridges without fire.