Tinder leaf mosaic spreads itself in the fall of day
across the deck. A few green locust leaves spackle
the pattern.

It is almost autumn after a summer too quickly
lived. The deck once unblemished as my father swept
away the confusion, now crackles under my step.

Before it was an old man’s complaint of disorder
at each juncture leaving nothing behind but bare
wood. I never understood.

This first summer after his departure, there is
no one to clean away the chaos. His only
child, I am not like him.

Low hanging branches tap me as I cross
their path, a comfort. He always trimmed
them short, out of everyone’s way.

His lawn groomed for a major league outfielder,
mine a home to rabbits. No place for perfect ball
this season.

I was the daughter he raised, but left a woman.
This autumn I release the guilt of missed perfections
and give myself permission to fail.

I allow nature’s foibles to entertain me, delight me
me with its eccentricities, and paint my days
in luscious amusement.




Author’s Note:

My father passed away in January at the age of 94. I didn’t realize until we moved him in with us around twelve years ago that he suffered from OCD. I would come home to kitchen draws perfectly arranged with space between each utensil. He was always sweeping the deck. I didn’t realize it. He must have done it every day because all I ever saw was a spotless deck and could never understood why he complained so.

Now that he is gone, I am finding that I tried to be perfect in everything to please him. I wasn’t, neither was my mom. I realize I can now relax and let go of this need to please him. I miss him dearly, but am finding my new way of looking at myself and the world a gift that only death could bring.

Opening Day

“I know things. For instance,napofeature3
there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary
and there are 108 stitches in a baseball.”

I wonder if he knew, the good Catholic11149284_10205258209246720_2496806988430061497_n
boy from Holy Rosary Church in
Globeville, the church his parents
from Yugoslavia help build.

I wish he was here so I could tell him.
I know it would make him smile.

The opening pitch won’t ring too loud
in our house tomorrow as in seasons past,
TV blaring so he could hear,
unable to see the ball cross the base,
just a blur of figures to his well-worn eyes.

Two black caps with silver and purple
letters, still nest on the top shelf
in the closet hallway.

One salt stained from working
the lawn or watering my garden, a time
when that was still possible.

The other pristine, guardian angel pin
tacked, just so, between the C and the R
and only worn grocery shopping.
That, too, a long gone chore.

The Colorado Rockies will open
their day tomorrow, my dad’s chair empty.
But he’ll be watching, I know.

I wish I could tell him there are
108 stitches on that opening throw,
just like the 108 beads on his rosary,
the one I should have buried with him.
The 108 beads I kept.




Author’s Note:

NaPoWriMo Day 9. Not using the prompt today.

Tomorrow is opening day for the Colorado Rockies. It’s their 20th anniversary. My dad, a lifelong baseball fan, was thrilled to finally have a major league team. I remember summers with my dad and cousin at Bear’s Stadium, the minor league team when I was a girl. Then we saw the Zephyrs blow in, and finally, The Colorado Rockies.

My dad was a diehard fan. He never went to the new ballpark, only once or twice. He preferred a closeup view, comfortable in his kitchen chair.

My dad died in January at 94, by the way he counted. He really was 93, but we gave up arguing. What does a year or two matter when what really matters is baseball?

And thank you to my friend Carol Timblin for the quote from Bull Durham.

11150273_10205258231127267_1480819661059714020_n images-1 denver_bears_1960 5412