Legal Property

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010


This is a poem written by a sweet lady in our church, Mary Ann Hansen. She read this before Pastor Shim's sermon on October 10. Mary Ann tells me the Paterson Literary Review 32 published it in 2003.


I see my father
washing dishes on Rose Hill, overlooking
blackberry vines he’d uproot and burn each fall,
only to watch them come back in the spring
more vigorous than ever.

I see his large hands
missing in soapy water,
his shoulders hunched as if his thoughts
weighed upon them. His thoughts,
my God, his thoughts –

Whatever were they?
He was almost always silent beyond my bearing,
his daughter who longed for a word just for her,
a word longer than one syllable yes or no,
some sentence she could hang on to, some

long father-filled rambling to envelope her
instead of this silence I most remember,
silence, but never an absence,
even thirty years after his death
a silence I am still waiting

for him to break
when my hands are in soapy water
at a window in a dry valley overlooking
an unwatered garden of tomatoes
rotting on withered vines.
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