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My Father’s Voice

June 16, 2009

My Father’s Voice

Written for my father while he was in a coma, not knowing if he might speak again.

We sang together in church
this year, your baritone
voice like a clear wind
behind me as we faced
the tiny congregation.

I fumbled over words, forgot
that I was singing too
for even then after all those years
your voice was a surprise,
a mystery, a guilty pleasure
we don’t allow. It is our secret
how we love to hear each other sing.

My new mother’s heart
ached just then, in the middle
of the hymn, for all the times
we did not sing
when we could’ve
belted, dammit.

Now you sit
accidentally confined
across the great oceans.
I wonder if you hear
your own voice singing
as I do? Do you sit surprised
at the mystery, ache for the taste
of it on your tongue?

I like to think you hear God
singing this morning,
a mother’s song to cradle you.
And somewhere in the distant choir beyond
that gracious sound
you pick out my voice,
as you always said you could,
and then you start humming.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Carlos permalink
    September 8, 2009 6:10 pm

    wow, Hei….
    lovely prose….

    “It is our secret how we love to hear each other sing.”
    ….that’s me and my mom, btw.

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