MY FATHER’S SHOES
“Bought them in a minute and a half,” he says,
“for thirty-three dollars Canadian.”
My father proudly shows me his new shoes,
which I admire.
The next day he asks me to try them on.
He wants to give them to me.
I wiggle my left big toe against the leather.
“A little large,” I say.
I have given my father many gifts—birthday dinners,
daily telephone calls, vacations, a new car.
My father has given me genes for a long life,
the values of thrift, generosity, and honesty,
but the greatest gift is his pride and confidence in me.
Today my father says,
“I appreciate everything you have given me.
There’s just one thing …”
“Yes? I ask.
“I only wish,” he sighs, “that my father had accepted
what I tried to give to him.”
—from Rattle #74, Winter 2021
Alan Fox: “I expect to live a long time because my dad enjoyed his life for 104 years and ten months. I always wanted to please my dad, and I think he was proud of me. I’m proud of him too.” (web)