He didn't actually bring lilies, but it's just as well because my mother wouldn't have kept them.
Father with the Lilies
I've never understood what it is about olfactory memory that momentarily
makes us catch our breaths and stagger backwards;
the sickly sweet leather-and-tobacco scent of my father's chair
certainly never made me cry or prowl about in frustration
although the man has gone back to an ancient land with fifty-six dialects and cheap curbside kabobs.
Perhaps it is because he is like all the other men who left,
though he was the last to go.
Father stayed the longest just as he'd promised years ago
when this leather chair had not found its way to the second floor of his Divisadero apartment,
where I imagine Interview With the Vampire could have taken place,
although now the place exists only in my mind, an impossible mirage.
How appropriate, then, that father brought a handful of lilies that last day
to celebrate the death of this family, a severing of ties,
and how fitting that they fought bravely against the constraints of the vase,
and how awfully small the room seemed in comparison.
I am sad now, but it is not so different than what it had always been.
Imagine, father, the lilies wilting one by one, day by day.
Imagine my queer fascination with mushroom clouds and the chartreuse sky.
Imagine life without your presence
and maybe, just this once, you'll understand me.
I can imagine your shock-eyed reaction in front of your favorite seafood restaurant
as the smell of greasy handprints and the mellow seeping of egg yolk
bridges the last centimeter between our minds.
It's always nice to imagine something like this happening. Bye, dad.