Robin Lindley
Father's Day

A call. From the hospital.
He's critical. You better come.
Away in the old Volvo, B-something model,
or maybe P. It was cold for June.
Earlier that day, you left the gift. Those slippers
from Lamonts. Marked down for fast sale.
Real leather uppers, lined with fabric
that could have come from a bathrobe. Perfect
for sanitized hospital corridors. On Father's Day.
Left the card, the slippers on his lap.
The television bolted to ceiling played
another movie about his war,
A Time to Love, A Time to Die.
Even John Gavin died in a puddle by the end.
But the father stared away, beyond
the visitor's parking lot into the gray field,
or through the splintered windows
of a fractured shed, black with rain.
By the time you arrived, after the call,
wide men pushed you out of his room
away from electrical paddles, discharges
that could not restart the blown sad heart.
The nurse said he sat at the bed edge,
showing her the gift, the slippers,
from the wife, the girls, the boy,
then he fell forward in a big sudden heap.
She couldn't stop him, she tried.
Bedstand broke his thick glasses,
linoleum broke his last fall.
A doctor said, he's gone.
You already knew.
You asked, what'll I do now?
You already knew.
Cold for June.
The slippers did not fit the son.
The shirts were too old,
too worn for anyone.

© 1995 by Robin Lindley

Robin Lindley is an attorney, visual artist, and writer. He lives in Seattle with his wife, Betsy Edwards.