For Father’s Day

by Jamison Koehler on June 20, 2010

As regular readers of this blog know, I look for any excuse to post a poem by my father. Here is one he wrote for his own father, a poem that has influenced everything I have ever written.  I reprint it now with his permission.

Your desk, by the window

Sitting at your desk, I open
one drawer, then
another.  Pencil
rattle lightly,
lie awry.  I mean to look

 but cannot seem to think,
or take, or touch things.
In the middle drawer
these envelopes,
unused; letters

 you did not write.
Their whiteness is
the distance now between us;
so many ways to fail.

 Whenever we said goodbye
it was like this.
Though minutes move
unmeasured toward their end,
you feel,

 in the pulse, the dark begin.
I push the drawer in
and hear
the stillness, there — outside,
the water nearing shore.

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