Remembering Him

~ to my father ~

A pack of ripped-open Lights,
Filter-content hanging
From a splayed corner
That silver-gold dulled
By sheathed plastic came
To be all that he was, those
Crumpled into the corners
Of the city-enfolded apartment,
The ratty chair
He collapsed in after
Tramping the World,
Oil-money stained under
Amber glass, that care-worn
Chair, he would sit
And consider one or the
When the Deserts faded
Or the flat streets of Holland;
He never carried home tulips,
They would not
Keep on the Plane--
Shirts were outgrown
And the wall-hangings sold
With the rest of It.
He would wait for Arab merchants
To hang him Lights and a green
Lighter, too...
Oil money as he
Watched the Kuwaiti wells
Explode in silent stains over horizons--

He lit his cigarette
With it and came home
To collapse into the chair
Dulled and stained by years.
When the world was large
And when he was in it,
When he brought home sand
Or whispered tulips, those
Silver-gold plastic packs,
Sorting thru' it now--
If only to find one last
Wrinkled box, smelling strongly
Of sweet tobacco and litter-
Scraps across the amber-
Stained chair, when the Desert
Was an excuse for him.
When it worked