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June 24, 2024


By Tony Gloeggler


If I didn't force myself
to get out of bed, answer
the phone this Saturday
afternoon, the anniversary
of my father's death
might have passed me by
unnoticed again. My baby
brother invited us all over
for Sunday dinner,
but my older brother
will probably go
to the cemetery instead.
He'll place sunglasses
and recent pictures
of the grand kids
my father never knew
on the head stone and pray
no one will steal them.
I remember dropping
a fistful of dirt in the ground,
hoping to help fill the hole
and how hard I tried to stop
crying. As I walked back
to the car, my mother's
younger, sexiest friend
hugged me, whispered
I was always her favorite.
I still wonder if Brenda
meant anything by that.

The next time I'll go back
is when my mom dies. Sorry,
but I don't believe in that kind
of thing and I can't even say
I think of my father regularly.
When my family talks
about him, they only mention
happy or funny moments
while our nagging conflicts,
his limitations and blind spots
stick with me more. Whenever
I bring any of that up,
the room grows all quiet.
I do miss him, but the world
would not be any easier
if he lived longer. Mostly
I realize I am more like him
than anybody else and nothing
anyone says will change that.

First published in San Pedro River Review

Article © Tony Gloeggler. All rights reserved.
Published on 2020-06-15
Image(s) are public domain.
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