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I Used to Go to Church Poem

I Used to Go to Church Poem

When my doctors thought
I was dying
I saw my father
slumped over
in a painted chair
in 6 A.M. sunlight
wearing faded paisley
boxer shorts
Before I was sure
if I should call
out to him
he got up
& moved through the room,
looking at everything,
picking up photographs,
of my friends
cupping the mug
I’d used for tea
His hands ran
along the edge
of the dining table
as if the objects
he touched
could tell him
the few things
he wanted to know
about my life
My old man
opened a window
& the wind rushed in
bringing birds
Pigeons perched
on his outstretched arms
& on his head
Each one cooed
a single note
but the sounds mingled
like a chorale
of bell ringers
& my father
he did nothing
to stop it

G. E. Patterson
from Tug

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