Before airport security
was like it is today,
my brother Andy and I
used to run up the tunnel
as my father's plane landed,
jumping up and down,
as we begged for whatever
gift he brought us.
Usually it was a bag of peanuts,
and we smiled as he picked us up.
I never knew what he did for work,
until he started calling me at my office,
talking through ideas and new projects.
I was happy to give him money
when he was looking for a job.
When I just started learning
how to live on my own,
my friend Chris was helping me
move my stuff to a new apartment.
He gave Chris my mother's book of poems,
and he said,
"If anyone screws with you,
And he lifted his middle finger.
And I learned something
about standing on my own.
My father hardly ever looked up,
and even his friends rarely
looked him in the eyes.
he would play Van Morrison
or Lucinda Williams
in his living room
and I would see his soul wake up.
I would see his heart making confessions.
I would see the rocks on his shoulders
melt and float with the music.
I share some of my father's burdens.
The duty to his people,
as old as dust,
as heavy as grindstone,
the straight line that he walked
through the killer whale's mouth.
And some of those burdens
don't have names yet.
They drift in the room like smoke,
drifting to the edge
where my father stood.