My Father's Face
Overnight my father's face found its way into my shaving mirror,
looks younger than I recall,
molten tears shed long ago, lymphoma ravaged his body,
a crucifying pain, the final thump,
a casket plunked into the earth below.
Through the hot steamy mist we smile at each other,
a most familiar physiognomy,
the startled look of a deer suddenly caught in headlights.
I hear the clickety-clackety of his 1938 Rolls-Razor,
never to be replaced.
A frugal fellow conditioned by an orphaned childhood
and the blackness of the great depression.
His razor a small victory over Thornton Veblen's vision
of planned obsolescence, conspicuous consumption
and pecuniary emulation.
Mock shaving a special treat, my face shiny as an apple in October.
Using his English badger brush, Burma-Shave covered my nose as well.
After a sudsy shampoo in the tub he would count "cigarettes"
as I remained submerged, little lungs about to burst.
Age 12 swimming across Lake Huntington
he rowed along side "just in case", having lost a friend
years ago canoeing across Lake Washwashkesh.
After hiking to the pinnacle of Round Top Mountain
A sepia print reveals a father hugging his son in paternal pride.
When report cards arrived grades never mattered.
He advised:"Your very best effort will do."
Years later when I was drafted for the war in Korea
he wept, praying for a peace at Pan Mun Jom
as I left to report to Whitehall street at 5 A.M.
Milton P. Ehrlich , , . , . .