HERO"We are going to the jungle"my father and son inform me"Be careful of the lionsI tell themMy son ties a red terryclothsuperman cape around his neckmy father takes a walking stickdog on leashthe trioset off on safariThey are gone many days and nightsor so it seemsfor I do worry about the lionswhen my cubs have wandered off without meNo need to worryhere they come nowMy father is wearing the superman capepretending to fly through the neighbourhoodshouting : superman! superman!My son is running by his sidethe dog is yappingmy father in flourescent redis making a spectacle of himselfI can see that to my sonthis is no gameof just pretendupupmy father scoops him upupI watch as they lift up into the airAnd fly the rest of the way home.1985, from In this House are Many Women, pub. 1992. Goose Lane Editions
My father and my son, above. My son and his son, below.
I don't believe much in having one day a year set aside to honour our fathers and mothers. Some day I will write about why. For now, here's to every man who has been a loving father to a child. The teachers, the uncles, the step-fathers, the granddads. For single Moms trying to be dads. Single Dads trying to be moms. And for everyone who missed out on knowing their father, or is missing their father, and for all the fatherless children. For Dads learning to be Dads. Tired new Dads. Dads about to be. Worried Dads. Dads fighting disease, Dads in jail and Dads in war. Gay Dads. Divorced Dads. Dads who do not even know they are Dads. Dads who never got to be the fathers they wanted to be.
Here's to the dream every child can feel safe in the arms of a father.
2011. This year, I'm thinking of my husband, who inherited teenage step-sons, and is now a Bumpy grandfather. We call him Saint Gilles.
As always, remembering my Papa.
And especially thinking this year of my niece and nephews, all in their twenties, who will be missing their unforgettable father, my brother, Shawn. Brave hearts, hold fast.