It’s Christmas and I’m waiting for that call,
“Dad’s dead. You should get on a plane.”
I’ll leave the kids under the palm tree
And the piña colada which I bravely don’t touch,
Leave my wife with the dirty shreds
of our marriage to pick up off the floor
To wait in airports
For the American coffin ritual
To mourn over ‘could have’ and ‘should have.’
My father is not dying alone.
There’s a shark, long as I am,
Drifting ill toward this beach.
The tourists are taking pictures.
One smart-ass has swum over to it.
A cruel young German.
And now they’re snout to snout.
If it were me floating there, dying,
I’d bite the little prick in half
and spit out the worst parts and laugh.
My father wanted me to be Clarence Darrow,
The great lawyer, Attorney for the Damned.
My father didn’t drink.
And that’s too bad.
Because there’s an ocean of alcohol
And love and a deep affliction of memories
too good to have been true.
And the soul which skipped a generation,
playing in the sand
with a coconut and a gecko,
Not named after him,
But after the man he should have been.
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