Extracts from

The Waistband and other poems

A Letter From My Father

It's extant only on official forms -
the wee coiled writing of my father.

His copperplate chalked on corporation
slate was lyric, legible, neat.

On tax returns its furls and curlicues
were daintier than Carolingian Miniscule.

Yet he hated writing and many's the chit
or docket I penned for him

in the naive scrawl that prints these lines.
Through all my journeyings, small triumphs

and reverses
I never had a note from him; whatever

needed telling, he was more inclined to say.
Slicing through the post these mornings

how I crave a letter from my father,
paternal greetings in a flawless script.


© Donny O'Rourke, 1997