Friday, August 12, 2005

I'm one with the notion that we immortalize loved "ones" in our memories of them, whether they're people, animals, places or events.

Reading the poem "The Rain Poured Down" by Dan Gerber (, a new thought struck me. In my memory there lives, will always live, a single tear: the first one I ever saw my father cry.

I can see him now, crouching forward on a living room hassock, elbows on knees, eyeglasses dangling from one hand. I don't remember for sure, but I think he'd just learned that his dad's cancer was inoperable.

He turned his face toward the open front screendoor so I wouldn't see, but it only threw that narrow quarter-face view of him into silvery light relief against the shadowed interior wall. And with a thrill of shock and dismay, I saw that tear run down the very border between his silvered cheek and the darkness beyond. That moment is frozen in my mind.

I knew as much how to comfort him then, when I was 12, as I do now, when he himself has been dead 11 years.

A single tear sinking like acid down through the softness of my broken heart.

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