My Father | Sojourners

My Father

My father was four years in the war,
and afterwards, according to my mother,
had nothing to say. She says
he trembled in his sleep the next four.
My father was twice the father,
of sons miscarried, and afterwards,
had nothing to say. My mother
has been silent about this also.
Four times my father was on strike,
and according to my mother, had nothing
to say. She says the company
didn't understand, nor can her son,
the meaning of an extra 15 cents
an hour to a man
tending a glass furnace in August.

I have always remembered him a tired man.
I have respected him like a guest
and expected nothing.
It is April now. My life
lies before me enticing
as the woman beside me.
Now, in April, I want him to speak
I want to stand against the worn body
of his pain. I want to try it
on like a coat that does not fit.

Peter Oresick lived in Pittsburgh when this article appeared. This poem is from his book The Story of Glass (West End Press, Box 697, Cambridge, MA 021S9).

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