Eating pecan pie
reminds me of my father -
his favorite dessert,
filling and delicious.


Whisker rubs
Laurel & Hardy
Tarzan movies
popcorn laughs

Squeeze next to him in the La-Z-Boy
reading and rocking
listening to stories

Bumping the stereo
to skip through the skips in Maggie Mae
hearing static pops
while Elvis sang away

"Abide with me, fast falls the eventide"
he sang from the battered blue hymnal

Playing hooky from school
so we'd be with him
he knew what was happening
he wouldn't tell us

-The funeral
staring into the coffin
his serene, relieved look
finally without pain

Sitting in the front pew
in early February
the service crawled like a wounded spider
grating my soul

Then my classmates,
in the loft of the church,
for the service
my father
"Abide with me, fast falls the eventide..."
I nearly screamed
almost slid to the floor
holding my running nose
hiding from my schoolmates

I didn't forget the words to that song for years
but they're fading,
now all I remember are the first words
and the melody to
"Abide with me, fast falls the eventide"

He knew

I finish the pie,
put away the cluttered tray
and leave the cafeteria.

Copyright © 1987, 2002 Steven A. Orth