Poem: Flowers to Pick

yellow flower

Flowers to Pick

Third cup of coffee
and I begin to wake.

It is a slow thing.
Done in fits and starts,
and in it, a new understanding
of my father,

and how maddening it must have been
to have a child who was a morning person,
bright and a bit too active
when his synapses needed copious amounts of coffee.

He never admitted his depression
except once, on his second bourbon
without rocks, on the day after Thanksgiving.
The confession came out
as he talked of my own battles,
and my willingness to fight in the light.

I was never sure whether he admired me,
or thought me a failure.
Some of both most likely,
depending on his mood.

For a man who lived in black and white,
where people were either legendarily good,
or spectacularly bad,
having a son who was merely human,
a flawed diamond that caught the light around him
and refused to be one color or another,
must have been maddening.

I had a bad habit of ignoring orders,
a trait I still carry.
I rarely fought for things.  I just did them,
living most of my life swimming in water just over my head,
life for me a strange flower,
where I would pick each petal,
saying “she loves me.”
“She loves me.”
again and again,
whether or not it was true.

I sip my coffee. I contemplate a fourth cup.
There is a chip in it, but it holds coffee just as well
as the whole cup on the next table.
I smile, awake at last.
Time to face the day.
There are flowers to pick.

2 thoughts on “Poem: Flowers to Pick

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