The Atlanta Review's Spring/Summber 2007 edition is entitled IRAQ, with quite a number of amazing voices from Iraqi poets. I was grateful to have a general poem, about my father, included in its pages...
I spy my father in his seventy-third year,
pausing on his daily walk through the forest
to gaze upward at a patch of light in the sky,
arms held aloft as though worshiping a silent muse.
I should have known, peering down this tunnel
of dark pine & cedar toward the clearing where he stood,
that he was being called, that he would soon go.
But I approach as any son might, hoping
for a few more good years—
stand next to his slightly stooped figure,
massive arms still strong, pulling me closer,
looking me in the eye, saying
do you know how loved you are? And I do,
but cannot bear it, heart filled beyond
what such a small sack can contain.
Listen instead to his story: how he walks
pausing here and there to listen,
how certain brothers & sisters, long dead,
visit—assuring him there is another road
just ahead, that they will be waiting.
Sometimes the years seem too many,
sometimes too few. But just now,
this moment fills a space that could
only be called infinity, lasts a time
that could only be named eternity—
love’s lexicon imprinting the heart
with language only grief can bear,
only joy pronounce.