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I can see my dad bent over his watchmaker’s bench, jeweler’s monocle in his right eye, squinting the left shut while he scrutinized a diamond. Dad didn’t have much hair from the time I could remember, but in this crouch there was always one wayward black-gray strand dangling in front of the monocle.
He proudly displayed his framed Gemologist certificate behind the diamond showcase in his small shop in Elizabeth, New Jersey. As a kid, I could never figure out why that piece of paper, earned after a short course in identifying the quality of diamonds and other gems, meant so much to him.… Read more
He wore a bright white tee and black pants,
walking my small self hand-in-hand
to the swings in the park.
We were in black-and-white.
I laughed and skipped,
using his arm as a trapeze.
He lifted me lightly under my arms
to hoist me onto the swing chair–
the old flat boards painted each summer.
He pushed me high into the trees
until I took over pumping my legs hard
to reach the cloud I had my eye on.
He grew smaller and smaller
as the swing released from its chains
flying me up into a dark starred vortex.
This Father’s Day I’m choosing to focus on the letters my father wrote to me in his later years. Those are the thoughts and feelings I want to remember as his true ones–the ones he submerged for most of my childhood. For some reason, it was only in written form that my dad could tell me how he felt about me. I’m grateful he found a way, otherwise I would have always felt that his distant attitude toward me was the only truth of our relationship.
If you’ve read Replacement Child, you’ll recognize parts of the following from Chapter Fifty-Six in the book:
I’m reading through letters from my father.… Read more