Bio Note: I’ve been an educator for over 35 years in various roles as teacher, principal, professor and I retired as a superintendent. I’ve authored two books: Tattoos (Finishing Line Press) and The Only Proof (Kelsay Press). I’ve been published in various journals, but I was honored to receive honorable mention in the 2014 and 2016 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards, and Editor’s Choice in 2017 from the Paterson Literary Review.
for my father Long after you were gone I found your cuff links in a velvet pouch among my bracelets. The A (for Arthur) etched in gold ovals, leaned right, the tail swirled left, like a wave receding. There’s mystery in the curls, from a time before font names were familiar, when elaborate letters pledged stories to come. I never saw you wear them—never watched you twist the levers into slits on cuffed shirts, or slip your arm into the sleeve of a pinstriped suit. Your work clothes were heavy twill— drawstring pants, an apron— you left at midnight with them stashed in a canvas sack, and headed deep into the Bronx. Over time, they wore and frayed, stained with jelly and chocolate. In middle school, after Home Ec ended, you surprised me with the sewing machine. In late afternoon, at the dinette, you cut patches while I mended holes and edges. My toe touched the pedal, the machine whirred—you asked me to print your initials inside along the seams.
The Fine Print
It’s happening, Dad. I can’t see without my … Well, you remember. It’s all fuzzy now. You warned me that someday print would shrink. Warranties, washing instructions, recipes would blur, require me to lengthen my arm. You told me not to read in dim light or sit in the front row at movies, as if this could somehow delay the inevitable. We were always the ones people nudged, “Can you read this for me – I don’t have my glasses.” And now my glasses are everywhere (the memory, your other omen, is going, too). I flip them up and down depending on text size. I can still see road signs and people crossing the street. I can still see you asleep in your chair … newspaper splayed on your chest, glasses stuck in your steel wool curls.
©2022 Nancy Lubarsky
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