We stormed garage sales with handfuls of bargain’d breath. I collected books & clothes cluttered with stains & stories. You found that grandfather clock, which still chimes on the hour.
You were there when I received my first rejection as writer. Collected slips into green folder that kept getting thicker and thicker. You were there when I received my first yes.
Eleanor Roosevelt impersonations in car ride and old time radio shows, which stirred up our imaginations.
Getting kicked out of West Hartford bookstore for copying recipes into notebook.
With each break-up, you were the one I called to remind me that there will be another.
Coney Island in April to remind us both the power of the Atlantic, as I collected salted shells. You remained even as I attempted to scratch myself away.
That trip back in time to Williamsburg and that bridge that replaced your home. A tour of your childhood when penny candy cluttered pockets and memories were just beginning to form.
Wednesday open mics at Peaberry’s Cafe and each drive you made to hear me perform in theaters or tiny bars.
Always encouraging me: to travel my way through Amsterdam; to follow my dreams as poet; to cross this country to Colorado; to follow love even when it hurt in its end; to believe in magic.
To inspire me as you wrote your stories out. To mentor me not as father, but as friend. And as survivor. And as a human who has fallen but continues to remain.
The realization that within me, the roots of my identity as writer, grew from you. And continue to grow.
My gratitude that we do not choose who are genes connect to. Regardless, I would have chosen you. My friend. The one who never lets me down. The one who has never judged me even when I deserved judgement and scorn. The one who never reminds me of my past; instead, you tell me to look toward the future and prepare for all the rainbows to come.
Happy Birthday, Dad.