The Arbor Vitae 2013

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Letter to my Father: Destination Unknown

June 13, 2013

Tags: father, paper, words, daughter, poet

My parents in Luxor, Egypt, in 1937
My father, Guido Mosseri, died at the age of 63 in 1971. In 2013, I miss him still. Last week, trying to impose order on my life of constant clutter, I was rummaging through a pile of assorted papers, most of them destined for the circular file, when I came across a handwritten sheet of paper, a letter to my father, dated September 30, 1985. Destination unknown, it lay hidden in the daily paper overload, waiting for him, waiting for me, waiting for years.
I always used to send him a card on Valentine's Day, and another on Father's Day, even after I married and came to live across the ocean in a life filled with other lives and loves, schedules, and obligations.
So today, Father's Day, I reclaim the letter I wrote to him 28 years ago. I didn't know then where to send it. Today, I float it into the ether. Wherever he is, he still lives in my heart. I hope he knows that I dared.


For my Father:
You would be happy to see me now,
Although the past has thickened on my waist
And my hair is fading with the years.
You would be happy to see
How I built with words, walls to keep us safe,
Built the world I inhabit,
Weaving the words around me in rich abundances of days,
Taking the words of others with reverence, to weave.

You would be happy
That my children reach to touch the stars
And that they hover on the brink of life,
Eager for the plunge, eager for the fray.
But you will mourn the poet in your daughter
Arrested on the stair,
Heart splintering with shards of words unsaid,
Eyes on the high solitude,
Afraid to dare.



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