Touch: The Journal of Healing



Father and Son

    by Stephen Maurer

Late one night we talk,

tentative at first,

then in the way that adds

to the canon of commonality

father and son have.

He doubts his sons will remember

the sleepless nights soothing them,

the games that never challenge him,

nurture he gives their mother,

his patience with endless unanswerable questions.

He's afraid the victories he fostered,

the tearful traumas he softened,

will be forgotten.

He has only one clear memory

of me from his childhood:

sharing homework at his bedside,

then telling a story

as he faded into sleep.

I tell him I too have

but one memory of my father.

Shortly after his funeral

I was in my office at dusk,

drifting, sad in the long light

filtered through the blinds.

Then he was there, my father,

hands on my shoulders,

eyes smiling into mine.

A spectre visible in my grief,

he was more present to me

than when he was alive.

Now I often imagine that smile,

that expression of concern.

Still my father.

A sweet melody from the next room

colors our words.

His wife is calming their toddler,

who will remember nothing of this moment,

except perhaps

the texture of soft warmth,

the lilt of her voice,

the look of love.

© 2011 Stephen Maurer

Certified in psychoanalysis by the American Psychoanalytic Association, Stephen Maurer has practiced and written about psychoanalysis for over 20 years, recently from a Lacanian perspective. A desire to be more fully engaged with poetry prompted his partial retirement from Seattle to a small college town. His poems have appeared in Boston Lit. Magazine, Yale Journal of Humanities in Medicine, Tiger's Eye, Darkling, Blueprint Review, Desert Voices, Switchback, and Deronda Review.  His first chapbook, Side-Effects; Poems of Remedy and Doubt, from Big Table Press, appeared in October 2010.

Copyright © 2011

Touch: The Journal of Healing

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