Father, 1917

I find your face in the sepia image
sitting in the front row, far right, your white shirt
cuffed at the wrist, complete with a borrowed tie,
hands obediently resting on your gray knickers
gathered at the top of your knee-length socks,
thick brown leather shoes,
your light brown hair parted from left to right.

Do your dreams portend the heartaches that lie in wait for you:
a home with thirteen children; scarcity of food; poverty of affection;
a younger brother and sister succumbing to the flu epidemic;
a hard-hearted father; an exhausted mother;
your lifelong struggle with depression and alcoholism.

I want to reach into the picture to touch your expressionless face
and wrap my arms around your small body to protect you
from the pain that will haunt your life.

I cannot rescue you from the darkness that awaits
or prevent my living under the shadow of your despair.

David was a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for 35 years before the publication of his first collection of poems, “A Heart on Fire, Poems from the Flames.” He continues to write poetry and makes presentations on poetry of Eastern and Western Mystics and leads poetry workshops as a faculty member of OLLI College at the University of Southern Maine. David is a regular contributor to Kind Over Matter. David plays the “Shakuhachi,” a Japanese bamboo flute used in Zen Buddhist meditation and celebration. He combines his flute music with poetry readings. He has taught Tibetan and Western poetry to Buddhists monks at Sera Jhy Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in South India. He earned his Master of Theology and Ph.D. in Pastoral Psychology degrees from Boston University. You can contact David via email or follow him on his website.

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