Because

This poem is for you, father,

And not because you took me home from the hospital

And you gave me my first bath,

Or because you would wake me up after getting home

From third shift at the factory, so we could have

Mushroom soup together (I remember sitting

On your lap, and you letting me have all the mushrooms).

This poem is for you, and not because

You moved to Florida for my asthma,

And not because you moved back to Connecticut

For me to have a tonsillectomy.  It is not because

You purchased two gloves and a baseball

From Sears & Roebuck, so we could have a catch

In the driveway, and it is not because

I didn’t make the team in junior high school.

This poem is for you, father, and not because

Your wife, and my mother, died,

And not because my third grade class went to the funeral,

And I didn’t, and it is not because

You talked me into going back to school after three days

Of playing with my Civil War soldiers

That mother promised me for Christmas.

It is not because I wanted to give mother’s jewelry away

To my first love, and it is not because I wouldn’t

Now give it away to my next love, even if I still had those

Rubied broaches and emerald pins in my possession.

This poem is for you, father,

And not because you wanted me to become a mechanic,

And not because I wanted to become a poet.

 

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