April 7, 2013

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

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