Jim Daniels

Oranges January 2015

Anthem
by Jim Daniels

Two months after retirement
my father is here, to get away
from 6 a.m. and his cup
of empty destination.

At a football game we huddle
under his umbrella
talking about the obvious.
He brings me coffee
to hold warm between my hands,
a gift of no occasion.

When we rise for the anthem
I hear the rusty crack of his voice
for the first time maybe ever.

Thirty-three years of coughing
thick factory air, of drifting to sleep
through the heavy ring of machinery,
of twelve-hour days. In my sleep
I felt the cold bump of his late-night kiss.

I shiver in the rain
as my father sings me
what I now hear as
a children’s song. I lean into him,
the umbrella and rain my excuse,
my shoulder against his,
and I imagine my mother
falling in love.


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