“I Worry More” by David Filer

David Filer


A father’s no shield for his child—
—Seamus Heaney, “Elegy”

I worry more now that my son is out
On his own, earning a handsome salary
Back east. How big the country is, and how
Many ways to navigate it. He’s free
To cross his streets without a father’s help—
A father’s caution, practice reading the signs.
And though I must admit he’s doing well,
Anything could happen, and he’s still mine
To fret over. Finally I understand
My own father’s silence. Not uncaring,
As I once thought, it’s the brave wordlessness
Of love and wonder, and no little fear:
Two fathers, now watching from their distance,
Two sons who risk the futures they will miss.

from Rattle #21, Summer 2004


David Filer: “Poems are how I turn the bits and pieces of life into something that makes sense. They frequently start with language from another poem that connects to my own experience. If I’m lucky, that start will get worked out into a completed poem, those bits and pieces will settle down, and I can go on to something else. If it doesn’t …”

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