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 , , . , . .