I was trying to untangle numbers
for the IRS, when I felt the hand
of my father on my shoulder.
A hoarse voice whispered:
“How goes the battle?

I shuddered,
his face looking older,
red hair bleached white.

His arthritic bones wore short pants.
He had a lanyard and whistle,
around his neck,
a transparent boy scout camper
at the Alpine Jamboree.

Munching on his favorite
pistachio ice cream cone,
he asked to audit
my tax returns and review the portfolio
left for mother, and me and my brothers.

Over the years, I provided father
with “Business Week”
and the “Wall Street Journal,”
periodicals I could never decipher.
“Much obliged,” he would say.

In the glow of a Lucky Strike cigarette,
he monitored market volatility
and political upheaval,
proud of his prediction
that oil would do well.

Prosperity is here to stay, he proclaimed:
“A chicken in every pot
and two cars in every garage.”

He said he looked forward to my arrival.
“Life after life is sublime,” he explained.
There is no past or future, so everyone lives in the now.